Why do I keep re-reading Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland?
I just finished it for the third time. By now, the plot is well-known to me. After 9/11, Dutch banker Hans van den Broek and his wife separate, with Rachel taking their son from New York City and moving back to London. Hans stays in New York, where he rediscovers cricket, and in the process he meets Trinidadian Chuck Ramkissoon, who dreams of an America that embraces its cricket-playing roots. “Cricket has a long history in the United States, actually,” says Chuck. “Benjamin Franklin himself was a cricket man.” The book opens with Hans receiving a call in London from a New York Times reporter, telling him Chuck is dead. The news causes Hans to reflect on New York and his relationship with Chuck.
A plot can sustain you for one reading, offering the buzz of what happens next? But after that is spent, where does a book’s energy come from? And why do I keep reading Netherland? Continue reading