Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Netherland

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Netherland

A Novel

By Joseph O'Neill

Netherland
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  • Hardcover: May 2008,
    272 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2009,
    272 pages.

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Beyond the Book

Cricket
It would seem that Joseph O'Neill's secret mission in writing Netherland is to convert Americans into cricket fans. Hans, his narrator, implicitly assumes that his readers are not familiar with the game, and long passages are given over to (rather aggrievedly) pointing to its illustrious history and explaining its subtleties. Herewith, for those who know baseball but not cricket, a few additional pointers on a game that Bill Bryson calls "a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way."

Like baseball, someone throws a ball and another person bats at it, but the similarities, for the most part, end there. Cricket is played on a circular field and the play extends in all directions. The batter is out when the ball hits one of three poles behind him known as stumps, so batting is as much defensive as offensive. Bowling more closely resembles tennis or golf because the bowler bounces the ball off the pitch on its way to ...

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