Several of the characters and themes in M. Karagatsis's novel, Junkermann, seem closely modeled on two of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels: The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night. In particular, both Vassili (Vasya) Junkermann and Jay Gatsby are former soldiers who find themselves hard up at the end of World War I. Both rise to positions of great wealth, buying-to no avail-recently built castle-like houses destined to receive the magic presence of the women they love. Moreover, in both Tender is the Night and Junkermann, young psychiatrists play a major role with respect to the female protagonist; in both cases, they are unable to understand the women they love. The cluster of common themes and characters seems too dense to be coincidental. If, however, Karagatsis meant to write a Greek Gatsby and a Greek Tender is the Night in one comprehensive novel, it is interesting to see which themes attracted his attention in Fitzgerald's novels, and which transformations he made. This opens up entirely new avenues of interpretation for Junkermann, as it suggests that this novel is not meant to be an illustration of determinism, but, to the contrary, of the awakening of sleeping humanity and of the emptiness of a world from which the people who gave meaning to it have disappeared.


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pp. 55-79
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