Joseph O'Neill, 2008
Lost and abandoned, Hans turns to the game of cricket to fill time and alleviate his loneliness. It's how he first meets Chuck Ramkisson.
O'Neill gives us a kaleidoscope view of New York—a world of immigrants and Wall Street bankers, of shifting identities and aspirations, of solitary desolation and odd relationships. Chuck, a gregarious, charasmatic, and tireless entrepreneur, draws Hans in through the force of his personality—and it's mainly through Chuck that we see the variety that is New York.
Chuck's "field of dreams" is a pristine cricket field, which he creates and nurtures in the hope of turning the game into the true American sport. The field represents Chuck's ineffable yearning, his spot of green ... akin to Gatsby's green light at the end of Fitzgerald's book.
Netherfield covers a lot of ground—memory, marriage, self-knowledge, spiritual bareness, filial love, and so much more. Beware, though: as one reviewer wrote, the book is "slow on action and heavy on musing." But O'Neill writes with such wit and intelligence that I treasured every sentence, every word.
See our Reading Guide for Netherland.
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