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Trust (2022)

by Hernan Diaz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,715749,975 (3.94)96
"Buzzy and enthralling ...A glorious novel about empires and erasures, husbands and wives, staggering fortunes and unspeakable misery...Fun as hell to read." --Oprah Daily "A genre-bending, time-skipping story about New York City's elite in the roaring '20s and Great Depression."--Vanity Fair "A riveting story of class, capitalism, and greed." --Esquire "Captivating."--NPR "Exhilarating." --New York TimesAn unparalleled novel about money, power, intimacy, and perception Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth--all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1937 novel that all of New York seems to have read. Yet there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.     Hernan Diaz's TRUST elegantly puts these competing narratives into conversation with one another--and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that spans over a century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation.     At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, TRUST engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (allthegoodbooks)
    allthegoodbooks: One of the themes of The Lacuna is about truth and who is telling it. This is the same in Trust. Both use different genre to do this and both leave the answer open as to how and who you should trust.
  2. 00
    The Fraud by Zadie Smith (allthegoodbooks)
    allthegoodbooks: Similar themes - who do we believe and how do we know
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» See also 96 mentions

English (70)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (73)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
2023 winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Hernan Diaz's Trust was an unusual but interesting reading experience. There are four sections to the piece: a novel, an outline of an autobiography, a memoir, and a journal.
First we read a novel written by Harold Vanner called Bonds.
We are introduced to the peculiar man Benjamin Rask, son of a wealthy tobacco producer, a shy reticent boy with no inclination toward social friendships. The death of both parents leaves him with a vast empire which he begins to grow based on his found talent when it comes to investing. "he discovered a hunger at his core he did not know existed until it was given a bait big enough to stir it to life.....If asked, Benjamin would probably have found it hard to explain what drew him to the world of finance. It was the complexity of it, yes, but also the fact that he viewed capital as an antiseptically living thing. It moves, eats, grows, breeds, falls ill, and may die. But it is clean."
He takes on valuable assistants as needed, and seems to build his wealth into an even bigger empire without so much as being connected to anything but the growth of money. When He does decide it might be time to marry, he meets a woman introduced to him by his associate, Mr. Sheldon.
Helen Brevoort, raised unconventionally by her parents Catherine and her eccentric father, travels across Europe, amazing people with her ability in languages and culture. She happens to meet Mr. Shelton who takes it upon himself to rescue their family from the perils of impending World War I. He safely returns them back to New York, where he gives them a place to stay in Madison Avenue right next to his employer, Mr. Benjamin Rask. Helen meets Mr. Rask at a party, held at his spacious and tastefully decorated house, and she decides maybe because of his loneliness and his silence that she will marry him. They are happy in their pursuit of independent passions :his money, hers, the arts. But Helen begins having episodes of mania and scratches at her eczema until Benjamin seeks help in a sanatorium in Switzerland. Her condition worsens. Shortly after the sad conclusion of this short novel, a new section introduces us to Andrew Bevel whose outline of his own autobiography tells a very similar story with drastic detail changes. We come to realize that this is his attempt to refute the novel written about his life with his beloved wife Mildred. The third section is a memoir written by Ida Pretenza detailing her time working for Bevel and helping him construct his autobiography and paint a generous, kind portrait of his life and love of Mildred. Ida, now in her 70's, uncovers the personal correspondence of Mildred who was suffering from cancer in a Swiss hospital. Needless to say each section makes the reader question the truth of the one before. The word Trust in the title may refer to the bond created between writer and reader to supply us with a satisfying character study, or a historical portrait of the old money icons of the early 20th century, and though this unusual structure may break that trust, trust me- this is a remarkable reading experience.

Lines:
he was an inept athlete, an apathetic clubman, an unenthusiastic drinker, an indifferent gambler, a lukewarm lover. He, who owed his fortune to tobacco, did not even smoke. Those who accused him of being excessively frugal failed to understand that, in truth, he had no appetites to repress.

It was only in hindsight that she saw that all this prying had driven her to create a quiet, unassuming character, a role she performed with flawless consistency around her parents and their friends—inconspicuously polite, never speaking if it could be helped, responding with nods and monosyllables whenever possible,

Intimacy can be an unbearable burden for those who, first experiencing it after a lifetime of proud self-sufficiency, suddenly realize it makes their world complete. Finding bliss becomes one with the fear of losing it.

Her face was a desolate ruin. A thing broken and abandoned, exhausted of being. Her eyes did not look at Benjamin but seemed to be there only so that he could peer into the rubble within.

Mrs. Brevoort was exuberant in her grief, exploring all the social possibilities of mourning. She found unsuspected radiance in the deepest shades of black and made sure to surround herself with particularly plaintive and misty-eyed friends so that she could highlight her arrogant form of sorrow,

the trials of her tender years and her always delicate health had given her the innocent yet profound wisdom of those who, like young children or the elderly, are close to the edges of existence.

A selfish hand has a short reach.

Every single one of our acts is ruled by the laws of economy. When we first wake up in the morning we trade rest for profit. When we go to bed at night we give up potentially profitable hours to renew our strength. And throughout our day we engage in countless transactions. Each time we find a way to minimize our effort and increase our gain we are making a business deal, even if it is with ourselves.

Money is a fantastic commodity. You can't eat or wear money, but it represents all the food and clothes in the world. This is why it's a fiction. ... Stocks, shares, bonds. Do you think any of these things those bandits across the river buy and sell represent any real, concrete value? No. ... That's what all these criminals trade in: fiction

My job is about being right. Always. If I’m ever wrong, I must make use of all my means and resources to bend and align reality according to my mistake so that it ceases to be a mistake.”

The more people partake in your everyday life, the more entitled they feel to spread stories about you. I’ve always found this baffling. You’d think closeness would engender trust.” “Are you saying even your friends spread rumors about you and your wife?” “Mainly my friends. That’s what they think friendship means: the freedom to turn you into a topic of conversation.”

We cared for each other, but care’s demanding. Did our best to fulfil what we imagined the other’s expectations were, repressed our frustration when we failed, and never allowed ourselves to be pleased when we were the recipients of those same efforts.

For I’ve come to think one is truly married only when one is more committed to one’s vows than the person they refer to.

God is the most uninteresting answer to the most interesting questions.

“Imagine the relief of finding out that one is not the one one thought one was”

In and out of sleep. Like a needle coming out from under a black cloth and then vanishing again. Unthreaded. ( )
  novelcommentary | Feb 24, 2024 |
This books sits on the outstretched arm of the fifth star. Diaz's story, "Trust", in all it's many meanings, unravels across a century, twirling through fact and fiction, revealing the hidden truth by reflecting and projecting tiny hints of it through the mirrors of conceit and ego and, finally, a ravaged elegance. ( )
  ben_r47 | Feb 22, 2024 |
4.5/5 im not smart enough to fully grasp this labyrinth of a story, just literate enough to know this was good lol ( )
  ratatatatatat | Feb 21, 2024 |
Fortuna
Hernán Díaz
Publicado: 2022 | 359 páginas
Novela Otros Realista

Un deslumbrante puzle literario: la misteriosa historia de un magnate de los años veinte en varias versiones que se complementan o contradicen.
En los triunfales años veinte, Benjamin Rask y su esposa Helen dominan Nueva York: él, un magnate financiero que ha amasado una fortuna; ella, la hija de unos excéntricos aristócratas. Pero a medida que la década se acerca a su fin, y sus excesos revelan un lado oscuro, a los Rask empiezan a rodearlos las sospechas…
Ese es el punto de partida de «Obligaciones», una exitosa novela de 1937 que todo Nueva York parece haber leído y que cuenta una historia que puede, sin embargo, contarse de algunas otras formas.
Hernán Díaz compone en Fortuna un magistral puzle literario: una suma de voces, de versiones confrontadas que se complementan, se matizan y se contradicen, y, al hacerlo, ponen al lector ante las fronteras y los límites entre la realidad y la ficción, entre la verdad —acaso imposible de encontrar— y su versión manipulada.
«Fortuna» explora los entresijos del capitalismo americano, el poder del dinero, las pasiones y las traiciones que mueven las relaciones personales y la ambición que todo lo malea.
He aquí una novela que, mientras recorre el siglo XX, atrapa al lector en la primera página y no lo suelta hasta la última, manteniéndolo en permanente tensión gracias al fascinante juego literario que propone, repleto de sorpresas y giros inesperados.
  libreriarofer | Feb 20, 2024 |
Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth—all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1937 novel that all of New York seems to have read. Yet there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.

Hernan Diaz’s TRUST elegantly puts these competing narratives into conversation with one another—and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that spans over a century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation.

At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, TRUST engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts ( )
  jepeters333 | Feb 5, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Though framed as a novel, “Trust” is actually an intricately constructed quartet of stories — what Wall Street traders would call a 4-for-1 stock split.... In summary “Trust” sounds repellently overcomplicated, but in execution it’s an elegant, irresistible puzzle. The novel isn’t just about the way history and biography are written; it’s a demonstration of that process. By the end, the only voice I had any faith in belonged to Diaz.
added by Lemeritus | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (pay site) (May 17, 2022)
 
Trust by Hernan Diaz is one of those novels that's always pulling a fast one on a reader. Take the opening section: You settle in, become absorbed in the story and, then, 100 pages or so later — Boom! — the novel lurches into another narrative that upends the truth of everything that came before.... Trust is all about money, particularly, the flimflam force of money in the stock market, and its potential, as a character says, "to bend and align reality" to its own purposes.... Literary fiction, too, is a fantastic commodity in which our best writers become criminals of the imagination, stealing our attention and our very desires. Diaz, whose last novel, In the Distance, reworked the myths of masculine individualism in the American West, makes an artistic fortune in Trust. And we readers make out like bandits, too.
added by Lemeritus | editNPR, Maureen Corrigan (May 12, 2022)
 
Trust: both a moral quality and a financial arrangement, as though virtue and money were synonymous. The term also has a literary bearing: Can we trust this tale? Is this narrator reliable? ... Taken together, the four parts make “Trust” into a strangely self-reflexive work: strangely, because unlike some metafictional exercises this book does more than chase its own tail. The true circularity here lies in the workings of capital, in a monetary system so self-referential that it has forgotten what Diaz himself remembers. For “Trust” always acknowledges the world that lies outside its own pages. It recognizes the human costs of a great fortune, even though its characters can see nothing beyond their own calculations; they are most guilty when most innocent, most enthralled by the abstraction of money itself.
added by Lemeritus | editNew York Times, Michael Gorra (pay site) (Apr 28, 2022)
 
...a kaleidoscope of capitalism run amok in the early 20th century, which also manages to deliver a biography of its irascible antihero and the many lives he disfigures during his rise to the cream of the city’s crop. Grounded in history and formally ambitious, this succeeds on all fronts. Once again, Diaz makes the most of his formidable gifts
added by Lemeritus | editPublisher's Weekly (Feb 8, 2022)
 
Structurally, Diaz’s novel is a feat of literary gamesmanship in the tradition of David Mitchell or Richard Powers. Diaz has a fine ear for the differing styles each type of document requires: Bonds is engrossing but has a touch of the fusty, dialogue-free fiction of a century past, and Ida is a keen, Lillian Ross–type observer. But more than simply succeeding at its genre exercises, the novel brilliantly weaves its multiple perspectives to create a symphony of emotional effects; what’s underplayed by Harold is thundered by Andrew, provided nuance by Ida, and given a plot twist by Mildred. So the novel overall feels complex but never convoluted, focused throughout on the dissatisfactions of wealth and the suppression of information for the sake of keeping up appearances. No one document tells the whole story, but the collection of palimpsests makes for a thrilling experience and a testament to the power and danger of the truth—or a version of it—when it’s set down in print. A clever and affecting high-concept novel of high finance.
added by Lemeritus | editKirkus Reviews (Feb 8, 2022)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diaz, Hernanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arduini, AdaTraduttoresecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ballerini, EdoardoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caball, JosefinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cassidy, OrlaghNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marnò, MozhanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Anne, Elsa, Marina, and Ana
First words
Because he had enjoyed almost every advantage since birth, one of the few privileges denied to Benjamin Rask was that of a heroic rise: his was not a story of an unbreakable will forging a golden destiny for itself out of little more than dross.
Quotations
Those who accused him of being excessively frugal failed to understand that, in truth, he had no appetites to repress.
most men smoked so that they could talk to other men.
the ideal conditions for business were never given. One had to create them.
self-interest, if properly directed, need not be divorced from the common good
These two principles (we make our own weather; personal gain ought to be a public asset) I have always striven to follow.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Buzzy and enthralling ...A glorious novel about empires and erasures, husbands and wives, staggering fortunes and unspeakable misery...Fun as hell to read." --Oprah Daily "A genre-bending, time-skipping story about New York City's elite in the roaring '20s and Great Depression."--Vanity Fair "A riveting story of class, capitalism, and greed." --Esquire "Captivating."--NPR "Exhilarating." --New York TimesAn unparalleled novel about money, power, intimacy, and perception Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth--all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1937 novel that all of New York seems to have read. Yet there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.     Hernan Diaz's TRUST elegantly puts these competing narratives into conversation with one another--and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that spans over a century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation.     At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, TRUST engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts.

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