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America’s Fundamental Myths and Narratives

“I think the narratives about capital are an even more fundamental myth in America than those about the frontier.”

Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Hernan Diaz takes on nothing less than American capitalism in his latest novel, Trust. In this episode of Book Dreams, he speaks with Eve and Julie about why he chose Trust’s innovative and surprising structure, and how that structure first reinforces and then deconstructs misconceptions about money. In a surprise move, he deliberately designed one segment of the book to be “a little off-putting … even a little boring, because that is the way we are spoken to when it comes to money and power machinations. … The message is, don't bother yourself with this.” Hernan also discusses his views on everything from the ways in which fiction shapes reality, to the societal implications of the “How was your experience?” buttons that are now appearing in airport bathrooms across the nation.

Hernan Diaz is a Pulitzer Prize and PEN Faulkner Award finalist, and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. His first novel, In the Distance, was the winner of the Saroyan International Prize and was named one of Publisher’s Weekly’s top 10 books of the year and one of Lit Hub’s 20 best novels of the decade, among many other accolades. He has published stories and essays in The Paris Review, Granta, and McSweeney’s. Trust is his second novel. It was long-listed for the Booker Prize and is a finalist for the Kirkus Prize.


“Intricate, cunning and consistently surprising…Much of the novel's pleasure derives from its unpredictabiility...Add Henry James to Wharton, and Thomas Mann too...Exhilarating and intelligent novel.” New York Times

“There is a dazzling intelligence behind this novel, which challenges us to rethink everything we know both about the institutions on which nations are built and the narratives by which stories are told. Sly, sophisticated, insistently questioning, Diaz writes with assurance, determined to rob us of every certainty.”—the Booker Prizes

“A buzzy and enthralling tour de force… a glorious novel about empires and erasures, husbands and wives, staggering fortunes and unspeakable misery…Mostly, though, Trust is a literary page-turner, with a wealth of puns and elegant prose, fun as hell to read.”—Oprah Daily

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