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Joseph O'Neil's Netherland and 9/11 Fiction

Keeble, Arin



This article argues that Joseph O’Neil’s Netherland (2008) self-consciously addresses some of the problematic aspects of the emerging canon of ‘9/11 fiction’. Netherland subverts one of the dominant thematic rubrics of the canon, marriage and relationships, by politicizing this area that has led Richard Gray to state that in many examples of 9/11 fiction, ‘the crisis is in every sense of the word, domesticated’. Secondly, it moves beyond the Manhattan or Wall Street milieus that dominate these texts, and grants significant space and voice to a hitherto marginalized New York. Thirdly, it overtly explores the problematic fault line between personal and public trauma, and lastly, it explicitly asks the question that is only obliquely engaged with in other 9/11 fictions: what is the lasting impact of the attacks? In working through some of the trends and tropes that have preoccupied the literary response to the attacks, O’Neil is able to illuminate certain aspects of a conflicted response to 9/11 and work towards points of reconciliation between the polarized ‘continuity’ and ‘discontinuity’ frames of interpretation of the attacks.


Keeble, A. (2012). Joseph O'Neil's Netherland and 9/11 Fiction. European Journal of American Culture, 31(1), 55-71.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2011
Online Publication Date Apr 9, 2012
Publication Date Jun 13, 2012
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2017
Journal European Journal of American Culture
Print ISSN 1466-0407
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 1
Pages 55-71
Keywords 9/11, Fiction, politics, trauma, meta-fiction, Joseph O’Neil,
Public URL