Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I'm using our few days off to catch up on all my arty things: drawing, painting, blogging. The weather is helping - it's been completely miserable, raining non-stop for the last 2 days. I haven't stepped outside today - Willow only went out once, and came back in 10 minutes later, all mucky. We had to catch him at the door and wipe his paws with kitchen paper (it's a 2-person job). He'll probably run around the house like a lunatic tonight, full of energy, all cooped up, bored and dying to get out.

But I didn't start this post planning to tell you all about our cat. I was going to talk about a book I read a few weeks ago, Netherland by Joseph O'Neill. Well, I'll try anyway, as I find it very hard to remember any details from books or movies after a month or so.

It's the story of Hans, a Dutch guy who lives in New York. After 9/11, his English wife is a freaked out and put off by the new America, she leaves him and goes back home with their young son. He is lonely and takes up cricket, a game he used to play as a kid. The other players are all immigrants, from the Caribbean and India. He's the only white man on the team. He becomes friends with a man from Trinidad - Chuck Ramkissoon. Friends may be a big name - there is a lot that he doesn't know about him, but it doesn't seem to bother him. Hans eventually goes back to England and is told a few years later that Chuck has been found dead in suspicious circumstances soon after his departure.

Don't let the cricket theme put you off. I know nothing about the game (or any game, not even tennis, for that matter), but I managed the technical terms no problem. It's an absorbing story, lonely and intense. I find it's very much a book of 2 halves - I wasn't that interested in Hans's life back in England, I have to admit, but I felt very much pulled in to his world in New York. There are mentions of The Great Gatsby in some of the reviews - I have to admit that's lost on me. It's a long time since I read that book, but I don't see any connections - Ok, maybe the shock of WWI vs the shock of 9/11, and the shady connections of a central character. But that's a bit stretched, isn't it? Mmm. I wonder if I still have The Great Gatsby anywhere, or maybe I'll find the Robert Redford movie somewhere...

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