Summer Reading B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Q&A | July 20, 2015

    Jesse Ball: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Jesse Ball

    Describe your latest book. I woke up one day from a sort of daydream with an idea for a book's structure, and for the thread of that book, one... Continue »
    1. $16.80 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      A Cure for Suicide

      Jesse Ball 9781101870129


Netherland (Vintage Contemporaries)


Netherland (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307388773
ISBN10: 0307388778
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 2 left in stock at $3.50!



Reading Group Guide

1. Describe the structure of Netherland. Why does the author open with Hans moving to New York City and then quickly jump into the future with Chuck's death and then jump back? Do you think these flashbacks and foward leaps relate to the narrative arc of the story? Is this simply how we tell stories? When you tell a story do you tell it chronologically? Why?

2. Childhood often slips into the story-that of both Hans and Chuck. Early on in the novel, Hans mentions that he doesn't connect to himself as a child ("I, however, seem given to self-estrangement" [p. 49]), then proceeds to produce numerous memories of his childhood and of his mother. How is this reconnecting with his heritage and his past important to the story? How is Chuck often the catalyst for these memories?

3. Chuck is more connected to his heritage than Hans. He socializes with others from the West Indies; he's married to a woman from his birth country, etc. How do flashbacks to his childhood differ from Hans's and how do they affect the novel as a whole?

4. How does nostalgia play into Netherland? Who is nostalgic and for what? Why does O'Neill open the novel with someone being nostalgic for New York City?

5. Discuss the title. What does "netherland" mean and what do you think it refers to?

6. Chuck's motto is "think fantastic." How does this both help and hinder him? Can you create an appropriate motto for Hans? How about for yourself?

7. What does the United States represent for Hans and Chuck? How are their relationships with their new country similar, and also polar opposites?

8. How are both Han's and Chuck's experiences typical of the American dream of immigrant stories? Compare Netherland to other stories of the immigrant experience (The Joy Luck Club, The House on Mango Street, House of Sand and Fog) or to what you imagine immigrating to a new country to be like.

9. Is the American Dream the same after 9/11? How are Americans both united and divided after 9/11? How is the world of Netherland particular to the United States after 9/11?

10. Describe the narrator's voice. Do you trust and like Hans as a narrator? Do you sympathize with him and understand his motives? Do you identify with him?

11. Describe the Chelsea Hotel when Hans lives there. How is it a character in the novel? How are the various inhabitants and the oddness of the place appealing and comforting to Hans?

12. What is Han's relationship with his mother? How does the relationship continue to affect him after his mother's death? How does it affect his being a father?

13. Discuss the theme of male friendship in the novel and its connection to sports. Early in the novel, Hans describes playing cricket with Chuck: "The rest of our lives—jobs, children, wives, worries—peeled away, leaving only this fateful sporting fruit [p. 48]." While Hans's friendship with Chuck goes beyond cricket, the sport is what initially brings the two men together. Why do you think cricket is so important to Hans? How does his friendship with Chuck change him?

14. Netherland is also the story of a marriage. Why is Hans and Rachel's marriage falling apart? What brings them together again in the end?

15. Discuss the theme of betrayal and forgiveness in Netherland. How do both Rachel and Hans betray each other and why? What about Chuck? Do the characters ever lead themselves astray and betray themselves? Does America betray both Chuck and Hans in the end?

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

julieb43, December 16, 2009 (view all comments by julieb43)
Although knowing nothing at all about cricket, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The writing is lyrical, with many vivid descriptions of New York, London, and Holland.

The two main characters, a transplanted Dutchman and a transplanted Trinidadian living in N.Y. are richly drawn and sympathetic. Each has his own failings, yet each strives for something better. The game of cricket is what connects them and becomes a metaphor for an idealized America.

The novel is slim but challenging. There are many descriptions of cricket, which I found acceptable as they invariably led to philosophical musings by the main characters.

I can see the comparisons to The Great Gatsby in that the writing evokes a sense of nostalgia for an America that no longer exists (pre-9/11), as well as the nostalgic reminiscences of childhood. It's also an evocation of an idealized way of life.

Chuck, the Trinidadian, is similar to Jay Gatsby in that he's a dreamer (and an outsider), having grandiose plans for a better America, as he sees it.

The novel almost reads as a memoir, as Hans interweaves his personal memories of growing up in the Netherlands with his present-day life as a transplanted Londoner in New York, and the assorted characters he meets--Chuck being the most vivid.

It's also a meditation on marriage as Hans describes the long road to reuniting with his wife and son as he takes stock of his life in N.Y. and manages to grow up.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

O'Neill, Joseph
Vintage Books USA
Stone, Robert
New york (n.y.)
Literature-A to Z
fiction;cricket;new york;novel;new york city;immigrants;marriage;london;american;literature;21st century;usa;america;contemporary fiction;immigration;contemporary;irish;ireland;2000s;literary fiction;england;family;holland;american fiction;terrorism;brita
fiction;cricket;new york;novel;new york city;immigrants;marriage;london;american;literature;21st century;usa;america;immigration;contemporary fiction;ireland;contemporary;irish;family;2000s;literary fiction;england;american fiction;holland;terrorism;brita
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories... Used Trade Paper $7.50
  2. White Tiger Used Trade Paper $5.50
  3. The Likeness
    Used Book Club Paperback $6.95
  4. The Believers: A Novel
    Used Hardcover $4.50
  5. Blood Meridian: Or the Evening...
    Used Trade Paper $10.50
  6. Out Stealing Horses
    Used Trade Paper $7.50

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Miscellaneous Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Netherland (Vintage Contemporaries) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780307388773 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The author of "Blood-Dark Track" delivers a mesmerizing novel about a man trying to make his way in an America of shattered hopes and values, and the unlikely occurrences that pull him back into an authentic, passionately engaged life.
"Synopsis" by ,
With soaring vision and profound intelligence, Robert Stone has written a harrowing, breathtaking novel about our desperate search, at any price, for the consolation of redemption - and about the people who are all too willing to provide it. A violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip, a mind-altering pilgrimage, a race through riot-filled Jerusalem streets, a cat-and-mouse game in an underground maze, a desperate attempt to prevent a bomb from detonating beneath the Temple Mount - Damascus Gate is an exhilarating journey through the moral and religious ambiguities that haunt the holiest of cities and its seekers, cynics, hustlers, and madmen. Set in Jerusalem, where violence, ecstasy, heresy, and salvation are all to be found, Damascus Gate is simultaneously the story of a man's search for truth - or some version of it - and the story of a city where sanity is casually traded for faith.
"Synopsis" by , New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year 

In a New York City made phantasmagorical by the events of 9/11, and left alone after his English wife and son return to London, Hans van den Broek stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. As the two men share their vastly different experiences of contemporary immigrant life in America, an unforgettable portrait emerges of an "other" New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality.

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at