Like on the wonderful 1989 Chicago summer day when I sat in dappled sunlight and read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day in one sitting, it’s occasionally possible to sense a book that you’ll love from a combination of the first few pages, some serendipity, and the physicality of the book itself. I’ve been purchasing up a flock of books during my last weeks in Kolkata (hardbacks for the price of paper), but an article in the NYT caught my eye about Joesph O’Neill, whose new book Netherland was released May 20. The article wasn’t about his book so much as it was about his subject. Cricket in post 9/11 New York City. I placed an order post-haste. The fresh-cut pages are in my hands now, it’s in my bag on the way to the office, and I’ve been half-tempted to close my door and read at my desk. One of the first character’s names mentioned in the novel is “Ramkissoon.” Say it to yourself, over and over. Ramkissoon. Ramkissoon. Ramkissoon.
I’m going to go out on an aging, weathered limb and predict that I’ve found 2008’s Book of the Year.