Friday, October 17, 2008


Rather than there being a 'new voice' in American letters, I'd rather say that we've re-discovered an old one. Joseph O'Neill's magisterial novel Netherland (ostensibly about cricket in New York) is an echo of The Great Gatsby. Here is a short passage from the early pages of the book, where our Dutch narrator, Hans, stares out at a Manhattan street scene in the early hours from his hotel balcony:

"The pallor of the so-called hours of darkness was remarkable. Directly to the north of the hotel, a succession of cross streets glowed as if each held a dawn. The tail-lights, the coarse blaze of deserted office buildings, the lit storefronts, the orange fuzz of the street lanterns: all this garbage of light had been refined into a radiant atmosphere that rested in a low silver heap over Midtown and introduced to my mind the mad thought that the final twilight was upon New York..."

I'm re-reading F. Scott Fitzgerald immediately after this...


Red Eyes 12:05 pm  

thanks for sharing...

Sandrine 2:17 pm  

Hi Jeremy,
I loved that passage.I will definitely check this book out.
Have a nice week end.
Take care.

Four2One 6:10 pm  

oh yea, I know that cousin actually is a big fan of mr O neil...good choice


Kafo 6:49 pm  

i really shouldn't say this in public but i am yet to read a Fitzgerald book i don't know why
but mii and Scott just never see each other

so yeah any recommendations

Red Eyes 11:24 am  

I don't know why anything is termed american, american this or that...american lit. what is american lit? Also, Jazz, which is an African creation falls under the American claim...and so many more questions...

On a more serious note, this Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) book is somewhat inspiring and I have always wondered about the very idea of any literature ...I am trying to decide whether to see the gatsby movie before reading the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald or vice versa...


CodLiverOil 2:30 pm  

I don't know if you are aware of this, the BBC are serialising the book in audio.

Here's the link:

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