Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Joseph O'Neill's Netherland

I have finally gotten around to reading Joseph O'Neill's Netherland, which has probably been recommneded to me moreso than any book published in the last several years. Ever since I first read The Great Gatsby, I have had a weakness for stylish novels about outsiders living in New York, and, this one is so full of magnificently-wrought passages that make me have to reach down and pick my jaw up off of my desk every few pages. I'll discuss it more after I finish it, but, for the time being, I'll post a few of my favorite passages and see what you think of them.

Exhibit One:
In addition to the generous ceiling heights and the wood floors and the built-in closets, she undoubtedly took in the family photographs and the bachelor disarray and the second bedroom with its ironing board and its child's bed covered by a mound of wrinkled office shirts. I imagine this answered some questions she had about my situation, and not in an especially disheartening way. Like an old door, every man past a certain age comes with historical wraps and creaks of one kind or another, and a woman who wishes to put him to serious further use must expect to do a certain amount of sanding and planing. But of course not every woman is interested in this sort of refurbishment project, just as not every man has only one thing on his mind.

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