Netherland (Vintage Contemporaries) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2009/5/7
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New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year
In a New York City made phantasmagorical by the events of 9/11, and left alone after his English wife and son return to London, Hans van den Broek stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. As the two men share their vastly different experiences of contemporary immigrant life in America, an unforgettable portrait emerges of an "other" New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality.
“Fascinating.... A wonderful book." —President Obama, interviewed by Jon Meacham in Newsweek (May 25, 2009 issue)
“Stunning . . . with echoes of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald's masterpiece . . . a resonant meditation on the American Dream.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Exquisitely written. . . . A large fictional achievement, and one of the most remarkable post-colonial books I have ever read. . . . Netherland has a deep human wisdom.” —James Wood, The New Yorker
“I devoured it in three thirsty gulps, gulps that satisfied a craving I didn't know I had. . . . It has more life inside it than ten very good novels.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
“Elegant.... Always sensitive and intelligent, Netherland tells the fragmented story of a man in exile—from home, family and, most poignantly, from himself.” —Washington Post Book World
“Suspenseful, artful, psychologically pitch-perfect, and a wonderful read.... Joseph O'Neill has managed to paint the most famous city in the world, and the most familiar concept in the world (love) in an entirely new way” —Jonathan Safran Foer author of Everything is Illuminated
“Haunting.... O’Neill’s elegant prose makes for a striking read.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A beautifully written meditation on despair, loss, and exile.” —USA Today
“Remarkable.... Note-perfect.” —Vogue
“Outstanding.... A coming-of-middle-age tale.” —Newsweek
“O’Neill’s writing is unendingly beautiful.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Brilliant.... A post–9/11 novel that takes us closer to understanding the emotional wreckage.” —GQ
“Provocative, luminous.... A fine, darkly glowing novel.” —The Boston Globe
"A dense, intelligent novel... O'Neill offers an outsider's view of New York bursting with wisdom, authenticity, and a sobering jolt of realism." —Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"O'Neill writes a prose of Banvillean grace and beauty, shimmering with truthfulness, as poised as it is unsettling. He is a master of the long sentence, of the half-missed moment, of the strange archaeology of the troubled marriage. Many have tried to write a great American novel. Joseph O'Neill has succeeded." —Joseph O'Connor, author of Star of the Sea
"Somewhere between the towns of Saul Bellow and Ian McEwan, O'Neill has pitched his miraculous tent. Netherland is a novel about provisionality, marginality; its registers are many, one of the most potent being its extremely grown-up nostalgia. The dominant sense is of aftermath, things flying off under the impulse of an unwanted explosion, and the human voice calling everything back." —Sebastian Barry, author of A Long Long Way商品の説明をすべて表示する
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Chuck Ramkissoon, Hans's driven and ethically suspect friend, is a Trinidadian Gatsby for our times, a self-centered dreamer with a shady fortune who still inspires affection and loyalty. And there's much of Nick Carraway about Hans: a level-headed outsider both drawn to and wary of his exotic friend, a capable man who makes a decent living in the city but opts to follow his heart and leave. Where Netherland differs most from Gatsby is in its embrace of New York. This is a "post-9/11 novel," or so Michiko Kakutani described it in the New York Times. While there's some discussion of the malaise that followed the attacks - the strain threatens to scupper Hans' marriage to Rachel (a smart but shrill Brit) - O'Neill is more interested in celebrating New York's endless power to create possibility for new generations of immigrants. NYC is a vortex of enthusiasm, and though Hans is rather unhappy there, he warms to its energizing, regenerating effect on others.
Without overdoing it, O'Neill peppers his tale with arresting imagery. The Staten Island cricket field where Hans plays is surrounded by houses with elaborate gardens. "For as long as anyone can remember, the local residents have tolerated the occasional crash of a cricket ball, arriving like a gigantic meteoritic cranberry, into their flowering shrubbery." O'Neill does a fine job of explaining cricket to the American majority without boring the initiated.
The story has a meandering structure, switching back and forth in time, a fractured chronology that encourages connections and contrasts. But it's overdone. It's self-consciously literary. The main effect is to de-emphasize drama and keep the focus on observation, yet O'Neill could have struck a better balance between action and thought. We have the makings of a much more emotionally compelling story - What will happen to Chuck and his dream of a first-class Brooklyn cricket ground? What will happen to Hans and Rachel's marriage? - but these outcomes are revealed within the first two pages. Rather like a five-day game of cricket between teams unafraid of a draw, the novel is an exercise in understatement, eliciting only moderate emotional investment, mildly pleasurable with occasional flashes of brilliance.
Since critics (NYT, New Yorker) consider Netherland exemplary, it seems to me that Tom Wolfe's complaint of 20 years ago is still valid: modern fiction remains too concerned with literary effect and intellectual contemplation and too little interested in enthralling stories. I'm not arguing for gratuitous pushing of readers' buttons, or for catharsis, but for the kind of alternately unsettling and inspiring storytelling that Wolfe advocated when he called for a return to the spirit of Dickens. The "post-9/11 novel" surely deserves as much.