Dissenting View of “Netherland”

Like many of you, I’m getting ready for BEA. So, rather than round up ALL the reviews of Memorial Day holiday, in today’s posts, I’ve been focusing on just the ones that appear the most significant. You can go to our RSS fed reviews roundup in the Book Reviews page for links to others.

Saving the big news for last, Netherland finally gets a bad review (well, it’s probably more accurate to call it “mixed”) The LA Times dares to go against the critical mass;

It’s an incredible novel that doesn’t work…O’Neill’s writing is unendlingly beautiful. If it were enough to go from startling observation to startling observation, this would be a masterpiece. It’s not. There are dime-store novels and half-baked MFA theses written with one-twentieth the skill that work better because something gets loved and something gets lost. No matter how sharp your perceptive knives, without warmth, no blood will flow.

Formidable critic James Wood reviewed it in the New Yorker last week, calling it “masterly.”

It’s now at #45 on the Amazon Top 100 list (last week, it was at #21). It has just been received in most libraries I checked, with significant holds in some areas (100 to 5 copies in one library).


Joseph O’Neill

  • Hardcover: $23.95
  • Publisher: Pantheon; (May 20, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0307377040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377043

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