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Exploring the Early 21st Century's "Great Gatsby"

By Rich Fisher


Tulsa, Oklahoma – On today's show, we speak with the writer Joseph O'Neill, whose celebrated novel, "Netherland," has just appeared in paperback. O'Neill will participate in a reading/talk/signing Book Smart Tulsa event this evening (Wednesday the 23rd) at 7pm in the Aaronson Auditorium of the Tulsa City-County Library's Central Branch. Often compared with "The Great Gatsby" and particularly aware of the contemporary American immigrant experience --- especially as it occurs in post-9/11 New York City --- "Netherland" is one of the most acclaimed novels to appear in recent years. As one writer, reviewing the book in The Washington Post, has noted, O'Neill's book "doesn't turn on plot. In both form and content, it questions the idea that a life can be told as a coherent story. It is organized not chronologically but as a series of memories linked by associations. . . . At times, the novel's exacting descriptions felt less like a man's memory than a tour of his consciousness, and I wondered why a particular scene merited such detail, but Hans [the novel's narrator] is a person who has lost his bearings after a shock and his myriad perceptions bear the stamp of this estrangement. Always sensitive and intelligent, 'Netherland' tells the fragmented story of a man in exile --- from home, family and, most poignantly, from himself." Also on today's show, commentator Barry Friedman spins a (probably true) story about death (perhaps).