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, it would seem 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.