Netherland is the story of a Dutch stock analyst, married to a British lawyer and temporarily, and apparently happily working in New York. After 9/11 his wife decides that New York is too dangerous of a place for their son to live and moves back to London (where, as we know, no terrorist threats exists!) and leaves him behind, rather abruptly. And he drifts, not really sure of where he stands without his family. He is drawn to cricket, a sport he did not know was played in the US, and to cricket players, who in the US hail from all parts of the former British Empire (and there are precious few stock analysts amongst them.) He hangs out with the other residents of the shifty hotel where he lives. He shuttles back to the UK to see his son.
But the events don’t matter. It’s about the feelings — like when he reflects about his mother’s death, which seems strangely diminished by the remoteness of her to him since he left the Netherlands. It’s about the outsider’s descriptions of the US (I particularly liked the description of the DMV, with its fortified counters and its hostile clerks) It’s about the random facts, such as his friend Chuck’s long exposes on various trivia including all the Guineas in the world.
I can’t quite remember when I so liked a book with a male hero and a male author. A wonderful read.