Why did you keep the title of the novel by Hernan Diaz, Pulitzer Prize 2023, in the original version for the French edition? This is because it has a two-way meaning: Trust is of course the trust that one can place – wrongly? – in a narrator; it is also a certain type of financial arrangement. Benjamin Rask inherited a fortune linked to tobacco, but he soon abandoned the family business, preferring to the certainties of his inheritance the intoxication of gambling on the Stock Exchange, inflated – like New York at the start of the 20th century – with “the noisy optimism of those who believe they have overtaken the future.” Soon, Rask wants to marry; when he meets the young Helen Brevoort, from an old penniless family and just returned from her unmissable tour of Europe, you would swear that you had opened an unpublished novel by Edith Wharton... Error! Trust is only the second novel by Hernan Diaz, an American writer born in Buenos Aires and a great admirer of Borges. But the novelist reveals himself with formidable ease in mastering the trap and illusion, giving the reader the impression of being on familiar ground to better destabilize him. While the narration – pleasant and fluid – seems to be on track, everything changes: Benjamin Rask fades behind another billionaire with little talent for human relations, Andrew Bevel. The novel becomes polyphonic, multiplies contradictions and forms, juxtaposes fragments from heterogeneous sources... until a final surprise that we carefully keep quiet. So why, once the book is closed, is there a slight feeling of disappointment? No doubt because its spidery structure has no other aim than to denounce the weight of money in American society, an oh-so-familiar theme. “Each of our actions obeys the laws of economics,” says one of the narrators. Could this be the moral of the story? The sign, in any case, that virtuosity does not exclude simplism§
“Trust”, by Hernan Diaz, translated from English (United States) by Nicolas Richard (Éditions de l’Olivier, 400 p., €23.50).
“Reality is fiction with an unlimited budget. That's what it is. And with what is reality financed? With one more fiction: money. »