Netherland by Joseph O’NeillRead about the other entries on the list.
Netherland is a gaunt novel that begins with a Dutch banker, named Hans van den Broek, who fled his Tribeca loft and lived with his family in the Chelsea Hotel after the World Trade Center fell. O’Neill’s prose is precise and whisperingly rich throughout, and offers perhaps the best sensory report on New York in the days after 9/11: “Around the clock, ambulances sped eastward on West Twenty-third Street with a sobbing escort of police motorcycles,” Hans observes. “Sometimes I confused the cries of the sirens with my son’s nighttime cries.” The attacks puts him in a kind of paralysis, and his wife leaves him for London, freeing him to turn to a game that, although you wouldn’t likely think of it that way, O’Neill somehow makes into a symbol of the American dream: cricket. The book is lovingly careful with its symbolism, so when Hans experiences his rebirth from sluggishness and embraces the vibrant sport, which has a healthy subculture among West Indian immigrants in the city’s ungroomed public parks, the emotional sonority fits, taking us on Hans’s redemptive arc without being overwrought.
Netherland is among Richard Tomlinson's top ten cricket scenes in fiction and Brooke Hauser's six favorite books about immigrants.