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Reading 'Netherland'

090615nether220

Since Barack Obama’s inauguration, we know of only one work of fiction that’s made it to the presidential nightstand.

After the briefing books and security reports, President Obama has made it known, he’s been reading last year’s widely-praised “Netherland” by Joseph O’Neill.

It’s a maximally multi-cultural tale of New York life after 9/11. Of a new century’s immigrants making their way. The president has called it wonderful.

This hour, On Point: “Netherland” author Joseph O’Neill — and James McBride, bestselling author of “The Color of Water” — on President Obama’s first read in the White House.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joseph O’Neill joins us in our studio. His novel “Netherland,” now out in paperback, was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the PEN/Faulkner award.  His other books include “This is the Life,” “The Breezes,” and “Blood-Dark Truck.”

You can read an excerpt from “Netherland” at RandomHouse.com.

And joining us from New York is James McBride. A writer and musician, his memoir “The Color of Water” was a national bestseller. His new book is “Song Yet Sung.” You can hear his On Point interview from last year.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.johncotter.net John Cotter

    For a somewhat more contrarian take, I suggest Steve Donoghue’s well-written critique in Open Letters Monthly: http://openlettersmonthly.com/blog/microreview-netherland/

  • http://wrni.org Joan Countryman

    The wonderful and painful indie film, “Goodbye Solo,” speaks to the changes in the U.S. that On Point is discussing this hour.

  • David Wackell

    I feel this president could represent the multicultural/multi-ethnic America of now. However, with more than one albatross (specificity of race, identity issues, politics) and a constituency that calls him Black and his convenient identity as Black seem a travesty, which marginalizes the true impact that a man of such varied background could represent and be – “All American”.

  • http://www.thefeinline.com Mike Feinstein

    The podcast RSS feed for this show is broken. It keeps adding entries for yesterday’s shows. Please fix this as my iTunes is getting clogged with this.

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