Saturday, September 26, 2009

Joseph O'Neill's Netherland & Obama

Yesterday I discussed my thoughts on the book Netherland by Joseph O'Neill.

Upon reading Netherland by Joseph O'Neill I learned something interesting. Some people called this book Barack Obama's 1st Book Club Selection.

On April 28, 2009 The New York Times Magazine ran an interview with Obama where the article mentioned he had begun reading the book Netherland. Again, Netherland is mentioned May 16, 2009 at the end of a Newsweek interview, and apparently Obama hadn't quite finished the book, but spoke of enjoying reading O'Neill's book in the evening after reading briefings.

Apparently, Obama's facebook page shows that he enjoys reading classics like Melville, Emerson, Lincoln, but in addition to his mention of Netherland he enjoys another modern novel, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, a favorite of my own.

Now as you can imagine Netherland's publisher Harper Perennial was pleased with this endorsement. This book did have other endorsement's prior to Obama's including being listed as one of the 5 best fiction books of 2008 according to the New York Time Sunday Book review.

How Does Obama Read This Book

But the book did have a reprinted edition come out shortly after Obama's mention and I think people are still intrigued by Obama-the-man. I think fiction is illuminating and the question of "why this book?" has to come to people's mind when they hear about his interest in a particular work of modern-fiction.
Surely, it's not Obama's secret love of the game of cricket, which plays such a central role in the story (picture right in author Joseph O'Neill with a cricket bat)

Not to mention, this book not only deals with America in an intimate way, it deals with terrorism, and public and foreign attitudes on American foreign policy. This book came out pre-Obama, but it has to be interesting to read a book where the main character is a financial analysis who's effected by energy decisions and the Iraq war, and where various character's voice opinions of the Bush administration.

This may be Obama's "pleasure reading" but he also much be reading this book wondering how his name might be referenced in contemporary fiction and art of the future.

1 comment:

Ramya said...

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