Sunday, April 03, 2011

Silly point

Joseph O’Neill’s novel Netherland (2008) tells the story of a New York-based Dutchman whose marriage unravels in the aftermath of 9/11, and who attempts to pull himself together by joining a cricket club in Staten Island. Barack Obama  apparently thought it was very good, and so do I. It would be more than a little trite to describe Netherland as a novel about cricket; but at the same time, without cricket there wouldn’t really be much of a novel. So I was a bit surprised when I saw a US paperback edition of Netherland in a Bangkok bookshop the other day, and noticed that there was no reference to cricket anywhere on the cover. Not even an opportunistic World Cup tie-in...

OK, so most Americans don’t get cricket, despite the fact that the first ever international match was played on US soil, so it was probably a hard-headed decision on the part of the publishers, who reckoned that nobody would buy a book that involved a sport they barely know exists. But would a British publisher bring out an edition of The Natural by Bernard Malamud with no indication that it might contain stuff about baseball? Or Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries with the title erased...

(The image is of the mighty Bart King, the greatest American cricketer of all time, who in his last tour of England, in 1911, took 87 wickets at an average of 11.01. Which, for the benefit of my lovely American readers, is rather good.)

4 comments:

Richard said...

It'll never catch on, cricket. Unlike gridiron and that rounders thing which have both swept the world.

I wonder what over 1/6 of the world's population was interested in yesterday?

The Dotterel said...

One-sixth and growing... Rather fitting that they won, isn't it?

Tim Footman said...

I remember NFL fans getting terribly excited because over 110 million people watched the Super Bowl. Ha!

Great tweet I saw yesterday: "My wife asked me to chop vegetables. Doesn't she know that we're world champions?"

blackwatertown said...

That would be Joseph O'Neill author of a great family memoir/investigation based on his two grandfathers - the one in Turkey, Syria and Palestine - the other in Cork.
I highly recommend it. "The Blood Dark Track"