Monday, May 10, 2010

What's Cricket in Netherland?

Day 90 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project. Willemina, who is from The Netherlands, is reading Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill, because it was a Christmas gift and because it won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Not because Joseph O'Neill is really handsome. I am the one mentioning that. I have my reasons....

When I asked Willemina about the meaning of "Netherland" in the title, she said it has multiple meanings, relating indeed to The Netherlands (as the narrator is Dutch), going "down below" as into deep stuff under the surface of life and into the psyche, and to a place between two worlds. There is cultural displacement in this novel--a character from Holland and his wife from England displaced to New York and then from their current home, due to 9/11. There is a character from the Underworld of crime, who goes to the underworld of death. This is not a spoiler, as it happens up front in a novel of flashblacks, and even the reviews tell us of this character's death. They also mention the similarities to The Great Gatsby in this regard!

And there's a lot of cricket. Maybe too much cricket for Willemina, who says she doesn't know the game well enough to get all the sybolism of cricket in the novel, but maybe that won't matter as she continues to read. The narrator plays cricket with other immigrants to the U.S. but in a less "polite" version of the famously gentlemanly game.

Speaking of international sports and famous gentlemen, I lent my current issue of Vanity Fair, the one with handsome shirtless World Cup soccer players on the cover, to my friend Kim. No further comment. From me. On World Cup quality men. I only mention it because Vanity Fair is a print magazine to which I currently subscribe...because of the great articles, yeah. No, really. And I always want to know what print magazines people are reading. Or drooling over.


Kim said...

Just to show you I did indeed read (some of) the articles in the previously mentioned issue of Vanity Fair, I will point out that on page 114 there is a bit of published correspondence beween Edwin Coaster and J.D. Salinger, or paraphrasing thereof, and there is mention of things they can cut out of possible publication of said correspondence. One of the things they plan to cut is, can you believe this?, a hummus recipe from 1972! Well, I must find a way to get my hands on J.D. Salinger's hummus recipe. Or die trying!

Kathleen said...

Well, old J.D. was really into health foods, I hear. If you get his recipe for hummus, I will drool.