Joseph O'Neill himself has remarked that his book is "having a conversation with The Great Gastby" and is perhaps even "saying goodbye" to it. Indeed, there are many similarities between Netherland and Fitzgerald's classic. In fact, many scholars have called Netherland a retelling. There are an extraordinary number of similarities in terms of plot, setting, and themes.
Just like Nick Carraway, the narrator of Netherland, Hans van den Broek, is something of an outsider. Though he is the narrator, we only really see him through the life of his friend, Chuck Ramkissoon, who is the principle character and subject of the novel. Chuck is similar to Gastby down to his personality and ambitions. He dreams of opening a cricket arena and making cricket a national sport in America. Chuck owns several businesses and has boundless ambition, and once again with similarity to Gatsby, it is heavily implied that not all of his income is earned legitimately. Similar to Nick with Gatsby, Hans finds himself utterly enraptured in Chuck's plotting, despite his better judgement, and cannot help but loose himself to the schemer's charms. The death of the American dream that Gastby feels is mirrored in the death of America as the land of opportunity for immigrants in a post-9/11 world, and just like the pair from Fitzgerald's novel, Hans is one of the few people to watch his unlikely friend's decay, as everyone around him still sees him as larger-than-life.