Customer Reviews for

Netherland

Average Rating 3.5
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Wow. Amazing book.

This book is most definitely one of the best books I have ever read. Hans appears to be this depressed, nonchalant character that pretty much lets his marriage and life go down the drain. But, deep down, you can truly tell that he cares about his family, especially Rach...
This book is most definitely one of the best books I have ever read. Hans appears to be this depressed, nonchalant character that pretty much lets his marriage and life go down the drain. But, deep down, you can truly tell that he cares about his family, especially Rachel.

Chuck - Now, he's another interesting character. He seems to want to be in everything, totally risky - Kind of like your average gangster immigrant. However, he seems to like Hans more than Hans likes Chuck. Hans sort of brushes him off as a regular guy - no real intent, or friendship worth cherishing. But, yet, Chuck goes out of his way to teach him to drive, meets him in Peekskill and then share stories of his brother (whom, he states, he never told anyone else about). More so, Hans is even listed as Chuck's Business Partner.

Part of me wants to blame that on Hans. He seems to be so apathetic towards many things, that he overlooks some valuable, and outlook-changing characters, such as Chuck. It's a shame he never acknowledged him before he died.

Book is most definitely interesting. Beautifully crafted and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. :)

posted by 339413 on November 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Did not live up to the hype

I remember when this book first came out, there was a lot of buzz about it in various magazines and periodicals. I selected it as the first book for a book club we were starting. I thought it would be topical as it was billed as the first post-9/11 American novel to d...
I remember when this book first came out, there was a lot of buzz about it in various magazines and periodicals. I selected it as the first book for a book club we were starting. I thought it would be topical as it was billed as the first post-9/11 American novel to deal with subject matter related to the tragedy.

No one in our book club liked this book. I will say that the writer has a way with words and his images are poetic and beautiful. Otherwise, the book is a massive bore. Uninteresting characters placed in uninteresting circumstances reacting in uninteresting ways. The plot meanders without regard to any sort of timeline so it's not clear when events are happening in relation to one another. I feel like this book was ambitious but not fully realized.

posted by Caledaravel on November 19, 2008

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  • Posted June 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    USA after 9/11

    Netherland by Joseph O'Neill is now in paperback. Its ISBN is 007275706 and it is published by Harper. It is a complex book with long sentences balanced with elegant prose. It has many intellectual contemplations and it is indeed a great literary novel. Some readers will find its jumping back and forth in time confusing. The plot is America through immigrants eyes after Sep 11th and on the verge of the Iraq War.It discusses New York City and cricket at length, the many pages of detail I could have done without. The story centralises around Hans a banker who lives in Chelsea Hotel after 9/11. His wife Rachael has left him and taken their child to live in London. Hans is devastated and mixes with other immigrants in New York. We read of their dreams, seeing the US as outsiders looking in. His friend Chuck wants to introduce cricket into the US but then this rogue is found dead. Rachael comes back to Hans in the end. This stands as a metaphor of hope and strength and rebirth of the US. I found it unncessarily detailed and long winded in places and would have liked more development of story and characters. It is well written and I do recommend you read this. This is reviewed by Annette Dunlea author of Always and Forever and The Honey Trap.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    Read this while on vacation. Light and easy read. I enjoyed the

    Read this while on vacation. Light and easy read. I enjoyed the intertwining of two very different, yet relevant stories; NYC post 9/11 and a marriage falling apart. Honest, eye-of-the-storm account of both 'tornadoes' happening in this his life.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Gatsby Redivivus?

    When Chuck Ramkissoon, the Trinidadian small-time gangster and big-time cricket dreamer, takes Hans van den Broek, the "Flying Dutchman" seeking a home port that may not exist, to Green-Wood Cemetery to see the grave of Henry Chadwick, Hans comments, "My attention was given over to the small square stone in the grass -- a maverick slab of crazy paving, one might have thought -- on which Chuck had carelessly placed a foot. It was a gravestone. A word was engraved on it: DAISY." Just in case the reader of the last 200 pages hadn't cottoned to the author's intention of recreating The Great Gatsby, here lay the final clue. Was O'Neill successful in rewriting the Great American Novel in a post-9/11 form? No, but in his attempt, he has produced a work that is interesting in its own right. His handling of the transformative experience of 9/11 is both deft and subtle. His Chuck Ramkissoon is in some ways more "alive" than Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby. The nostalgia experienced by Hans which pervades the novel is quite different in kind from that of Fitzgerald's Nick Carraway. In terms of atmosphere, I was reminded more of novels by Bernhard Schlink, Harry Mulisch, and W. G. Sebald. Some of O'Neill's language and imagery is beautiful and poignant, and the novel is well wrought. The descriptions of preparing the cricket field and those of Hans using Google Earth were well done and evocative. I must admit to a desire to take a cricket bat to Hans on more than one occasion when his self-questioning ennui became a bit too much to bear. The novel does have valuable lessons and deserves a second reading. I liked O'Neill's use of the quotation from Book II of the Georgics, seemingly as a throwaway line, ["O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint, agricolas.":] which is, of course, a major AUTHOR'S MESSAGE, inviting the reader to join Vergil "ignarosque viae mecum miseratus agrestis".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2009

    Well written book.

    The story had a very real, human feeling. O'Neill developed the main character with very believable characteristics. It was a fun coincidence that we were in England during the cricket championship in July.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Post 911 NY experience

    One marriage upended by the fallout from 911.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    An interesting perspective on post-9/11 NYC.

    I enjoyed the many set pieces describing life in NYC. The protagonist was frustratingly passive and there was more about cricket that I ever wanted to know.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 18, 2009

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    Posted October 18, 2008

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    Posted September 7, 2010

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    Posted December 18, 2008

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    Posted January 4, 2009

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    Posted September 3, 2010

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