Sunday, August 17, 2008

Netherland by Joseph O'Neill

The night before I left for my grandparent's house, I went to B&N to pick up a book for the trip. Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill jumped into my hands mainly because it is the "Bookies' Favourite" (for the Man Booker Prize 2008.) I must admit that I was hesitant to purchase it. I read a few reviews and thought that it would be a book about Cricket (the sport.) But far from my expectations this is a novel of perception: Hans' perception of Cricket and everything else. The sentences are beautiful. I cannot remember the last time I found this much serene pleasure in reading a book. A few of my book-marked quotes follow:

Perhaps the relevant truth--and it's one whose existence was apparent to my wife, and I'm sure to much of the world, long before it became apparent to me--is that we all find ourselves in temporal currents and that unless you're paying attention you'll discover, often too late, that an undertow of weeks or of years has pulled you deep into trouble.

She has accused me of exoticizing Chuck Ramkissoon, of giving him a pass, of failing to grant him a respectful measure of distrust, of perpetrating a white man's infantilizing elevation of a black man.

I don't remember anyone in New York talking about his vacation for longer than a minute. ... But in London, it must be recognized, escape--to the country, to warmer climes, to the pub--is a great, bittersweet theme.

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