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Novelist Joseph O'Neill Revisits 'Netherland'

Jul 9, 2009 (Fresh Air)

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Recently issued in paperback, Joseph O'Neill's novel Netherland emerged to immediate acclaim in 2008, and many critics — including Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan — placed it on a footing with The Great Gatsby.

Netherland's protagonist is Hans van den Broek, a Dutch oil futures analyst. After his wife leaves him — and New York City itself — in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, van den Broek befriends Chuck Ramkissoon, a Trinidadian immigrant with grand schemes of converting an abandoned Brooklyn park into a brand new cricket pitch.

O'Neill won a 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Netherland. President Obama recently told The New York Times that, when the briefing books were starting to become a bore, he'd been turning to Netherland in the evenings.

Born in Cork, Ireland, to a Turkish mother and an Irish father, O'Neill was raised in Holland. He practices law in addition to writing.

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