November 6, 2010

Netherland by Joseph O'Neill

Date Started: October 29
Date Finished: November 6

Summary: Hans is a Dutch-born, England educated young analyst in the oil business and doing quite well in New York. However, after the September 11 attacks his life starts to fall apart. His marriage is failing and years later he gets a call from the police stating that his friend, Chuck, has been found in a canal the victim of a brutal murder. Hans recounts his meetings and friendship with Chuck as the two of them embark on creating a international cricket club and stadium.

Likes: I was in love with the writing style of the story, though I can't exactly pinpoint why. The language is pretty high, but yet it's accessible in my opinion. The story kind of reads like a translation of the book. The way the book introduces characters is fascinating to me, because they are often caught in ways that one wouldn't expect. The story is essentially about a failing and rebuilding of a marriage, but Hans was such an empathetic and very real character that I was invested in what he was doing and how he was going to resolve the issues with his wife. I was also curious to know who killed Chuck.

Dislikes: The ending was a little confusing and I wasn't exactly sure what was going on. I could live with the fact that *spoiler: highlight to read* they never find Chuck's killer or why he was murdered,*end of spoiler* though he did have a lot of dubious business ventures and he was predicting his death the entire time. I just wished there was a clue to Chuck's death, but since it technically wasn't about his death but more about the influence he had on Hans. I just wanted more about what happened to Chuck. I also disliked Rachel, she was obnoxious.

Overall: It was a good book. I actually used it on my midterm. The assignment was to imitate the style and I found that was actually really easy to do and the book itself was engaging. Now that I finished the book, I want to at least finish my story for class. The story is an interesting read about a family in a post 9/11, but it doesn't focus on 9/11 itself, but the aftermath of life on a more personal level.

Recommended by: Professor Andrew Winer's Survey of Contemporary Fiction Class


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