Trust by Hernan Diaz

Who can you trust?

Presented as a novel, ‘Trust’ is a quartet of stories about money, power, and intimacy. Part One is ‘Bonds’ a successful novel by Harold Vanner in 1938 which purports to tell the story of Benjamin and Helen Rask in the 1920s. He was a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she was 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?

‘Generosity is the mother of ingratitude.’

In Part Two, we have the beginning of an autobiography entitled ‘My Life’ by Andrew Bevel:

‘… lately I have come to believe that I owe it to the public to share some of the decisive moments of my story’.

After the 1929 stock market crash made Bevel even wealthier, he found that some people blamed him for causing it. Bevel has his own version of the truth (which has absolutely nothing to do with Vanner’s novel) and eventually engages Ida Partenza to write about his life and especially his late wife, Mildred. Ida finds this difficult: Bevel has a sanitised version of ‘truth’ and severely limits Ida’s access to any information that might challenge this. Perceptions must be controlled, trust, it seems, is in short supply.

Time passes by and Bevel passes away. Ida discovers a different version of truth from Mildred Bevel’s diary. And the various pieces fall into place.

‘Chaos is a vortex that spins faster with each thing it swallows.’

Brilliant metafiction. I loved it.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith