By Joseph O'Neill
272 pages. Pantheon.
The chill and clarifying breeze wafting through Joseph O'Neill's Netherland (Pantheon) comes from Holland, the childhood home of Hans, a Manhattan financial analyst, and the source of his persistent hunger for human connection. His marriage fallen apart, his life adrift, reticent Hans strikes up an unlikely friendship with an ebullient Trinidadian Gatsby, "a willful, clandestine man" he meets on a Staten Island cricket field. The complex game of cricket serves as this exquisitely articulated novel's metaphor for civility wrested from chaos and the oblique trajectory of hope.