Joseph O’Neill’s agent and publisher must hope with some fervency that he will, one of these days, write another book like Netherland (2008), his novel of émigré cricketers in post-9/11 New York. Writing in the New Yorker, James Wood called Netherland ‘exquisitely written’ and ‘a large fictional achievement’. It was the making of O’Neill’s reputation: at the time he was known, if at all, for a family memoir, Blood-Dark Track (2000); two early comic novels were out of print. Arriving as it did during Barack Obama’s campaign for the US presidency, Netherland felt thrillingly well timed. O’Neill had found a way to marry classic American realism to the postcolonial novel. Even Obama himself had praise for Netherland (this was back in those difficult-to-remember days when American presidents read books).