Summary (Masterplots II: World Fiction Series)
Gemini is two stories in one; it is the story of Alexandre Surin and his generation, and it is the story of the twins, Alexandre’s nephews, collectively known as Jean-Paul, and their generation. The two stories are separate, but they are told simultaneously and overlap in the middle. The first part, covering the period from 1918 to 1950, relates Edouard’s marital and extramarital life, the twins’ boyhood togetherness, and the personal and professional scandals of Alexandre. This section of the book ends in quadruple disaster: Maria-Barbara, Edouard’s wife, is arrested and deported; Alexandre is murdered; Edouard dies of diabetes; and the arrival of Sophie, Jean’s fiancee, fatally compromises the twins’ fraternal pact. The second part, covering roughly the period from 1950 to 1961, includes Sophie’s break with Jean, Jean’s flight from Paul on an extended solo honeymoon around the world, and Paul’s failed attempt to catch up to his brother and recement the bond of twinship. These two chronological divisions can also be viewed as Jean-Paul’s successive phases of adolescence and maturity; as the presence, then absence, of a father in the Surin family; as the country of France followed by the context of Europe; and as a sequel to the adventures of Michel Tournier’s Robinson and Friday from his earlier book, Vendredi: Ou, Les Limbes du Pacifique (1967, revised 1972; Friday: Or, The Other Island, 1969).
(The entire section is 866 words.)
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