One-Minute Book Reviews

March 3, 2009

Cricket as a Metaphor in Joseph O’Neill’s ‘Netherland,’ Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for the Year’s Best American Work of Fiction

Filed under: Novels,Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:00 am
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While I was compiling the Delete Key Awards shortlist, Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland won the PEN/Faulkner Award, given by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the year’s best American work of fiction. A nice line about the use of cricket as a metaphor in the novel appeared in Cathleen Medwick’s review in O, The Oprah Magazine:

“The complex game of cricket serves as this exquisitely articulated novel’s metaphor for civility wrested from chaos and the oblique trajectory of hope.”

One of the most widely praised novels of 2008, Netherland was snubbed by the judges for the National Book Awards and the National Book Critics Circle Awards, which I predicted it would win. But O’Neill has come out ahead financially: He gets $15,000 for the PEN/Faulkner instead of $10,000 for a National Book Award and nothing for a National Book Critics Circle Award. And he has a chance to pick up another $10,000 when the winners of Pulitzer prizes are named on April 20, though the history of those awards would seem to give the edge to Toni Morrison’s A Mercy.

A review of and reading group guide to Netherland appeared in separate posts on One-Minute Book Reviews on June 24, 2008. The paperback edition of the novel is due out from Vintage Books in June 2009.

(c) 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

June 19, 2008

Who Killed Chuck Ramkissoon? ‘Netherland’ and Unreliable Narration – Coming Soon to One-Minute Book Reviews

Filed under: Novels — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 9:53 am
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At the heart of Joseph O’Neill’s beautifully written new novel, Netherland, lies a mystery that remains unresolved at the end of the book: Who killed Chuck Ramkissoon, a Trinidadian cricketer who in the first chapter turns up dead in the Gowanus Canal? But is the mystery really unresolved? Is Netherland an oddly unfinished tale? Or is it a bold exercise in the unreliable narration that also drove Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent? An analysis of the evidence in Netherland will appear soon on One-Minute Book Reviews.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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