Most writers don't get the opportunity to compete for BOTH the Man Booker and the PEN / Faulkner, but because O'Neill has dual citizenship or something, his novel was up for both prizes this year. He lost in England but won in America, which is fine.
O'Neill is also married to Sally Singer, who is the editor of "Vogue" and used to be an editor at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, which is also fine.
He lives in New York, which is why he qualified for this prize, I guess, even though New York is basically NOT America. Which is ALSO fine.
O'Neill went to boarding school in the Netherlands and then became a barrister (not the same as a barista). "Netherland" is a book about a Dutch guy who joins a cricket team in New York after the World Trade Center attack.
Here are all the reviews for "Netherland" that I could find, in case you are interested in why this was America's best novel this year:
"Two Paths For the Novel" (Zadie Smith, in "The New York Review of Books")
"Pen in One Hand, Cricket Bat in the Other" (Charles McGrath, in "The New York Times")
"Perfect Delivery" (Andrew Anthony, in "The Guardian")
"Beyond a Boundary" (James Wood, in "The New Yorker")
Usually, Philip Roth wins the PEN / Faulkner Award, so it is always nice when somebody else does.
Still, "Netherland" is a book about expatriate Europeans playing cricket. Can we assimilate that? Can we swallow that?
This cricket book won America's only real writing prize this year.
I guess that's fine.
Except, hold on...
...no. It's fine.
It's fine. I'm sure it's a good book. He's an American now. We have drafted him, like Wodehouse.
Suck it, Europe.
Posted by miracle on Sat, 28 Feb 2009 01:43:44 -0500 -- permanent link