Saturday, November 29, 2008

Netherland - 3M's Review

Hans van den Broek and his wife Rachel are living and dealing with post-9/11 New York City. Hans is a banker and originally from the Netherlands, while Rachel is a British attorney. Rachel believes New York has become too unsafe and leaves for London, taking the couple's son with them.

With his new-found spare time, Hans spends more time playing cricket in the park and meets a Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon. Chuck has some big dreams and schemes involving the sport of cricket and brings Hans along for the ride. The question is whether Ramkissoon's dealing are on the up and up. Hans begins spending more and more time with Chuck while also travelling back and forth from London so he can see his son.

Some have compared this book to The Great Gatsby, and while it does have a little of that 'vibe,' I don't think the book really merits that comparison. The real question of the book is whether or not Hans is a reliable or an unreliable narrator. If he's reliable, I don't think I really got the point of the book. If he's unreliable, it certainly makes the novel more interesting with all the ramifications of what that might involve. I wasn't really clued in to the fact that he might be unreliable until I looked at some other reviews of the book.

Discussing and discovering the truth of the reliability of Hans' narration would really make this novel a good choice for a book group. Too bad I can't tell you more. Come back and email me if you end up reading the book, I'd like to hear your thoughts!

2008, 272 pp.

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