Emboldened, I gave into the situation and its happiness—gave in to the song, to the rums and the Coca-Colas, to Avalon’s smooth skillful butt, to the hilarity of remarks made by Dr. Flavian Seem and Prashanth Ramachandran, to the suggestion that we go on, after the gala, to some further place; and to the crush of hips and legs in Chuck’s stretch limo; and to the idea that we swing by, since we’re all dressed up, the all-fours club down on Utica on the far side of the Great Eastern Parkway, where the speechless all-fours players have been playing all day and signal to partners by picking their ears and rubbing their noses, their women hanging around drinking and eating and very ready to go home; and to persuading some characters from the all-fours club to come out and fete with us at the limo driver’s place down on Remsen and Avenue A; and to stopping on the way there at Ali’s Roti Shop for roti and doubles and stopping at Thrifty Beverages to load up with beer and four bottles of rum and, because there is no limit to our hunger, stopping also at Kahaune Restaurant and Bakery to order a delivery of tripe and beans, patties, and curry goat; and to the invitation, once inside the home of the limo driver, who is named Proverbs, to join in a card game called wapi, and to losing nearly two hundred dollars playing wapi; and to the truth of the remarks “Boy, it have a good wapi there tonight” and “Mankind does be serious about the wapi game, boy”; and to the ephemeral mouth belonging to a girl with a diploma in lifesaving; and to six laughing pairs of hands that picked up my wrecked body and dropped it on a couch; and to water splashed on my face at six in the morning; and finally to the proposition, made by Chuck as we walked behind a gang of boisterous Hasidic boys in the first warmth of the weekend, that we sweat it all off at a banya just a few blocks from his house.
I just read Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland
. You might have heard the rumor
that the book is awesome. Believe the hype: it is.
Reading it after American Wife
was a small education in how different great books can be. Sittenfeld’s achievement in American Wife
was writing a novel where a lot happened to a lot of people. American Wife
was engaging and smart, but above all the story moved.
I believe suspense in literature is limiting
, and at the onset of Netherland
, we know one character dies and the narrator gets back with his wife. Over the course of the book, those things are explained, but O’Neill spends more time writing than storytelling.
Secondly, O’Neill writes sentences like the one above. I’m the kind of person who skips block quotes, so if you didn’t read it, go back. That’s one sentence, 356 words to be exact. This post is 153 words. Winner, O’Neill.