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Trust
Cover of Trust
Trust
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 BOOKER PRIZE
“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 Times

An 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.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 BOOKER PRIZE
“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 Times

An 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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  • From the cover

    ONE

    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 resilience and perseverance or the tale of an unbreakable will forging a golden destiny for itself out of little more than dross. According to the back of the Rask family Bible, in 1662 his father's ancestors had migrated from Copenhagen to Glasgow, where they started trading in tobacco from the Colonies. Over the next century, their business prospered and expanded to the extent that part of the family moved to America so they could better oversee their suppliers and control every aspect of production. Three generations later, Benjamin's father, Solomon, bought out all his relatives and outside investors. Under his sole direction, the company kept flourishing, and it did not take him long to become one of the most prominent tobacco traders on the Eastern Seaboard. It may have been true that his inventory was sourced from the finest providers on the continent, but more than in the quality of his merchandise, the key to Solomon's success lay in his ability to exploit an obvious fact: there was, of course, an epicurean side to tobacco, but most men smoked so that they could talk to other men. Solomon Rask was, therefore, a purveyor not only of the finest cigars, cigarillos, and pipe blends but also (and mostly) of excellent conversation and political connections. He rose to the pinnacle of his business and secured his place there thanks to his gregariousness and the friendships cultivated in the smoking room, where he was often seen sharing one of his figurados with some of his most distinguished customers, among whom he counted Grover Cleveland, William Zachary Irving, and John Pierpont Morgan.

    At the height of his success, Solomon had a townhouse built on West 17th Street, which was finished just in time for Benjamin's birth. Yet Solomon was seldom to be seen at the New York family residence. His work took him from one plantation to another, and he was always supervising rolling rooms or visiting business associates in Virginia, North Carolina, and the Caribbean. He even owned a small hacienda in Cuba, where he passed the greater part of each winter. Rumors concerning his life on the island established his reputation as an adventurer with a taste for the exotic, which was an asset in his line of business.

    Mrs. Wilhelmina Rask never set foot on her husband's Cuban estate. She, too, was absent from New York for long stretches, leaving as soon as Solomon returned and staying at her friends' summerhouses on the east bank of the Hudson or their cottages in Newport for entire seasons. The only visible thing she shared with Solomon was a passion for cigars, which she smoked compulsively. This being a very uncommon source of pleasure for a lady, she would only indulge in private, in the company of her girl-friends. But this was no impediment, since she was surrounded by them at all times. Willie, as those in her set called her, was part of a tightly knit group of women who seemed to constitute a sort of nomadic tribe. They were not only from New York but also from Washington, Philadelphia, Providence, Boston, and even as far as Chicago. They moved as a pack, visiting one another's houses and vacation homes according to the seasons-West 17th Street became the coterie's abode for a few months, starting in late September, when Solomon left for his hacienda. Still, no matter in what part of the country the ladies happened to dwell, the clique invariably kept to itself in an impenetrable circle.

    Limited, for the most part, to his and his nursemaids' rooms, Benjamin had only a vague notion of the...

Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2021

    A Pulitzer and Pen/Faulkner finalist for In the Distance, Diaz uses a multilayered narrative to investigate money and power, truth and perception, and early 20th-century U.S. history. In 1920s New York, Wall Street tycoon Benjamin Rask and his wife, Helen, of offbeat aristocratic origins, are the cr�me of society's cr�me. They're also the protagonists of the novel Bonds, published in 1938 and on everyone's reading list. But the novel doesn't reveal the whole truth about the characters, who here engage with other accounts to share the big picture. I've heard raves.

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 28, 2022
    Diaz returns after his Pulitzer finalist In the Distance with a wondrous portrait in four texts of devious financier Andrew Bevel, who survives the Wall Street crash of 1929 and becomes one of New York City’s chief financial barons before dying a decade later at age 62. First there is Bonds, a novel by controversial writer Harold Vanner, which tells the story of Benjamin Rask, a character clearly based on Bevel. The novel, published shortly before Bevel’s death, infuriates the magnate, particularly for its depiction of Bevel’s deceased wife, Mildred, as a fragile madwoman. Bevel responds by undertaking a memoir, which only serves to highlight his own touchiness and lack of imagination. The third story-within-the-story is the most significant; in it, the reader meets Ida Partenza, daughter of an Italian anarchist in exile, who, in pursuit of her own writerly ambitions, suppresses both her own conscience and the suspicions of her suitor, Jack, to become Bevel’s secretary and coconspirator in ruining Harold Vanner, as Ida concocts a counternarrative of a saintly Mildred. The reader eventually hears from Mildred directly via her journal, discovered by Ida during her research and included as a coda. The result is 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.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2022
    A tale of wealth, love, and madness told in four distinct but connected narratives. Pulitzer finalist Diaz's ingenious second novel--following In the Distance (2017)--opens with the text of Bonds, a Wharton-esque novel by Harold Vanner that tells the story of a reclusive man who finds his calling and a massive fortune in the stock market in the early 20th century. But the comforts of being one of the wealthiest men in the U.S.--even after the 1929 crash--are undone by the mental decline of his wife. Bonds is followed by the unfinished text of a memoir by Andrew Bevel, a famously successful New York investor whose life echoes many of the incidents in Vanner's novel. Two more documents--a memoir by Ida Partenza, an accomplished magazine writer, and a diary by Mildred, Bevel's brilliant wife--serve to explain those echoes. 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.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2022
    Pulitzer Prize finalist Diaz (In the Distance, 2017), returns with a multilayered novel that pieces together a searing portrait of a New York financial elite during the early-twentieth-century world through four discrete documents. The first is a novel written by Harold Vanner about the reluctant scion of a tobacco empire, Benjamin Rask, ""an inept athlete, an apathetic clubman, an unenthusiastic drinker, an indifferent gambler, a lukewarm lover."" The second is a partial memoir written by Andrew Bevel, a New York financier with a clear resemblance to the character in Vanner's novel, who seeks retribution for Vanner's fictionalization of his life. The third piece presents the memoirs of Ida Partenze, a journalist turned accomplice to Bevel's ambitions to ruin Vanner, who also seeks to undermine Bevel's marriage. The final section delivers the journal entries of Mildred, Bevel's wife, adding yet another facet to the stories-within-stories. For all its elegant complexity and brilliant construction, Diaz's novel is compulsively readable, and despite taking place in the early 1900s, the plot reads like an indictment of the start of the twenty-first century with its obsession with obscure financial instruments and unhinged capital accumulation. A captivating tour de force that will astound readers with its formal invention and contemporary relevance.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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