my take: under the category of "expectations are everything"... we picked this book for book chicks based on my mother's raving about how great it was. i overheard her discussing it with hubby and talking about how like The Great Gatsby it was ... unfortunately i hadn't read Gatsby for a while and i hadn't read Netherland yet, so i didn't really pay attention, just tucked the information away.
so we read Gatsby and then we read Netherland. i spent the entire novel trying to see any similarity. like banging my head against a wall. which made the novel frustrating. (i did, however, learn a lot about cricket.) reading the reviews on the back of the book, i missed a lot. and a glance at the front cover ... "echoes of The Great Gatsby." ugh!
my recommendation? enjoy this post-911 new york city novel for what it is ... a treatise on the epigraph:
I dream'd in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth;
I dream'd that was the new City of Friends - Whitman
see new parts of NYC and enjoy them through the eyes and lives of these international characters.
my source: my mother so highly recommended
my verdict: hmmm. in the right frame of mind, yes.