Monday, 18 January 2010

#3 Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill

I like most, if not all, sports, so it's perhaps not a coincidence that two of the first three books I have finished in 2010 are connected by sport; football in the case of Simple Goalkeeping Made Spectacular (book #2), and cricket in the case of Netherland. It would be a major surprise if there are no more over the course of the year (particularly as I'm already in the process of reading another).

Although a central theme of Netherland is the narrator's love of cricket, and his quest to play it in a country and city disinterested in the sport and perhaps understandably more concerned with coming to terms with itself post 9/11, there is a bit more going on.

And, in my eyes, the shame is that with so many interesting issues to explore in terms of multi-culturalism and the disconnected nature of the Dutch narrator and his family, it was curiously unengaging.

It only really came to life when the story returned to the main character, a mysterious cricket umpire/businessman/crook, yet - ignoring the fact he dies (near the start, so that's not a spoiler) - the book ended without the reader really getting to grips with what he represented, and frustrated as a result.

So, rating time:

#3 Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill ((Harper Perennial) – 6/10

Next up: The Hell of it All, by Charlie Brooker (Faber and Faber Limited)

Click here for the full list of books so far, and their rating

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