Peripatetic, itinerant, eclectic musings about books, politics, history, language, culture, and anything else that interests me.
With rave reviews from James Wood, Michiko Kakutani and Dwight Garner, it might not seem like we need to tell you to drop everything and go read Netherland, but we are telling you, and here’s why: The way book coverage works these days, everyone talks about the same book for about two or three weeks, and then they move on and the book is more or less forgotten. Whereas a berth here in the Recommended sidebar keeps noteworthy titles in view for a good, long time, which is the sort of sustained attention this marvelous novel deserves. A Gatsby-like meditation on exclusion and otherness, it’s an unforgettable New York story in which the post 9/11 lives of Hans, a Dutch banker estranged from his English wife, and Chuck Ramkissoon, a mysterious cricket entrepreneur, intertwine. The New York City of the immigrant margins is unforgettably invoked in gorgeous, precise prose, and the novel’s luminous conclusion is a radiant beacon illuminating one of our essential questions, the question of belonging. Our strongest possible recommendation.