Trust by Hernan Diaz

The rundown:

This is a book about the accumulation of extreme wealth and excess in Roaring ‘20s New York City. It is also, and perhaps more importantly, a book about the fiction of fiction. The subjectivity of truth, which is explored through 4 competing narratives about a legendary Wall Street tycoon and the brilliant daughter of penniless aristocrats. Each narrative completely upends the truth constructed by the previous one and you, the enraptured reader, are left to question which story is the truth. 

The review:

The brilliance of Trust is that the novel as a whole becomes increasingly profound and powerful as more layers are peeled back. The first two narratives are interesting enough on their own, but when the connection between the two becomes clear about 30% in, this book levels up from good to good. Diaz knows - and forces readers to acknowledge - that stories are simultaneously constructions of reality and also construct reality. This notion is best summarized in my favorite quote from the book: “My job is about being right, always. If I am ever wrong I must make use of all my means and all my resources to bend and align reality according to my mistake so that it ceases to be a mistake.” As part of his exploration of the ambiguity of “truth,” Diaz inspects the American mythology of wealth and our fascination with people who accrue gobs and gobs of it. Are they heroes, manifestations of the American dream and the superiority of capitalism? Are they crooks who manipulated their way into obscene wealth at the expense of everyone else? Both? Neither? Diaz doesn’t answer this question, leaving us to ponder which story is the truth. Really, though, you should be asking yourself if there even is such a thing.

Goes well with:

Though the plots are very different, Trust Exercise by Susan Choi is an excellent follow-up read for another book that plays with structure and the way that impacts the story being told to show you how gullible you are for believing something that is itself a work of fiction. Diaz explores another aspect of American mythology - the wild West and all it encompasses - in his debut novel In the Distance.