This post will be a bit different only because I was away tonight and unable to polish off a review. However, I was away on official book enjoyment business, so I think a brief post about my delayed review is appropriate.

Those of you who read my blog during this year’s Booker Prize probably already know that my favorite book on the longlist was Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, a nuanced look at post-9/11 New York City in which O’Neill recasts the American Dream. I’m still pushing for O’Neill to win a major literary award for this book.

Anyway, tonight Joseph O’Neill came to the Barnes & Noble in Tribeca to meet on a panel with Senior Editor of the New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus, and reviewers Liesl Schillinger and Dwight Garner (who loved Netherland). The official discussion was supposed to be about the New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of 2008, but mostly O’Neill was asked about his book and the reviewers were asked about the pracitice of reviewing.

And I got to speak for a brief minute with Joseph O’Neill. It was, after all, his book I took with me to the hospital when my second son was born — whom we named Holland, but not after this book, its narrator, or O’Neill’s adolescence. So here’s my copy of Netherland now.


My review will be up tomorrow.

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By | 2017-10-01T14:09:57+00:00 January 22nd, 2009|Categories: Joseph O'Neill, Personal|12 Comments


  1. Isabel January 22, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    How cool!

    I am glad that you can take a little time to go to listen to the talk.

    And that Mrs. B. understands that you need to “go out” sometimes.

  2. Steph January 22, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    What a nice story! I wish I lived in a city that authors visited more frequently. What a perfect way to make a special book even more personal!

  3. sherryberrett January 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Mrs. B wouldn’t mind more opportunities to “go out.”

  4. Andy January 22, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I have always been with you on Netherland and believe it would have been a worthy Booker winner. In the end I put it neck and neck with Sebastian Barry on the longlist.
    I was lucky enough to see the 6 short-listed nominees speaking in London the day before the announcement. It is a great experience to see them in the flesh and listen to what they have to say. So I enjoyed this post very much and hope that you will continue to take advantage of the possibilities in New York and let us all know about the experience. Kate Grenville is in London next month – I am tempted to go along and get my copy of The Secret River signed.

  5. KevinfromCanada January 22, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I can’t help but thinking that more replies from sherryberrett would be welcome on this blog. She adds another dimension to a very good analysis.

  6. Trevor Berrett January 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Alright, alright. Let’s set the record straight ;) . Mrs. B and the boys came along for the ride. I held the baby, while she read a book. The older boy played with the Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train set they have set up in the Barnes & Noble. So all in all, a good night for everyone!

    And, Kevin, it’s possible that that sherryberrett character could distort the picture!

    And Andy and Steph, it was a wonderful opportunity that I hope to take advantage of again – with Mrs. B, again :).

  7. KevinfromCanada January 22, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Picture distortions are always welcome.

  8. sherryberrett January 22, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    I’d love to distort (as Trevor did when he “set the record straight”), but Trevor is less accomodating and doesn’t want the blog to turn into a “domestic dispute.” So sorry to disappoint.

  9. KevinfromCanada January 23, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Hopes raised, hopes dashed.

    Edith Wharton would whup Trevor’s you-know-what, given the chance. He should be lashed.

  10. January 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Oh, I am a ‘late’ reader for all sort of things. Most things, really, because I really didn’t read much but light fiction up until a few years ago.

    A world has opened up.

    I like that you mentioned pacing: I felt as if I were racing through the book, the words piling up, one after the other. Is this an effect of French to English, or authorial?

  11. onparkstreet January 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    oops, that was suppose to go under the Madame Bovary post, obviously…

  12. Trevor January 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    For those of you who’d like to listen to what I heard in Tribeca, here is the podcast from the New York Times. Not sure if it’ll be there, but if you listen closely you might be able to hear my son, the only baby in the group.

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