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Book Review: "Trust" by Hernan Diaz

2.5/5 - An underwhelming piece of metafiction

By Annie KapurPublished 3 months ago • 4 min read
From: Amazon

I had been looking at this book for some time and for some reason or another, just never got around to reading it. Every other book seemed to be more important and I am not going to lie when I say this: the blurb on this book does not do it any favours in making it sound even remotely interesting. I have a few mixed feelings here and there, but I think I have come to a lawful conclusion on what I think overall. Let's take a short look at what the book is about and how it is split up.

First of all, it seems to be split up into two things, first there are the volumes and then there are the chapters within them. A fairly old style to use and not one I would have thought people used nowadays (let alone using a 'prologue' which is something a lot of publishers recommend against), it does fit the way the story is told in the book. Do I like it? I'm on the fence. Volume 1 of this book was not strictly speaking long enough to be called a 'volume' in my humble opinion. Barely taking up just over a quarter of the book.

From: NPR

This first volume is about a man named Benjamin who has inherited a large family tobacco company. Unlike his sociable and yet business-minded father and forefathers, Benjamin Rusk is a man of no friends, nothing really to do and pretty much has the personality of a wet paper bag. He marries a woman named Helen and the marriage seems distant and loveless at first, but when Helen becomes sick - he does seem to take care of her. I enjoyed the first volume but honeslty, with the hollow personalities of the main characters, it can become tedious from time to time. By the end of the volume, I did not feel that much catharsis and it wasn't really a shock - I almost expected it. Again, though it is well-written, there are things that could have been better about it.

The second volume is narrated by an American financier called Andrew Bevel who first takes us through his forefathers and then to himself, goes through his apprenticeships and jobs after his stint in academia. He meets a lovely woman named Mildred who gets cancer whilst they are married. Honestly, the heartfelt story within this volume is overshadowed by too much business-speak about the stock markets and this is where the story itself becomes dry as a bone.

The third volume is about a woman who becomes the ghost writer for Andrew's book which is influenced by himself because of the fact he is infuriated by the success of someone else's novel which is clearly influenced by their own life. When researching the famed, but sidelined and demeaned Mildred, the writer finds an uncatalgued diary by her and she plans to take a look at it.

The fourth volume is obviously the diary by Mildred which details her time in a sanitorium basically just waiting to die from cancer. This part seems well-written but again, it leaves the reader a little dried out.

From: Bookety Book Books

I understand that the metafiction aspect is supposed to be strong but, in comparison to one of my favourite books of all time which is also a metafiction text, this book is not all that great. Metafiction is a type of text which refers to itself as being a book. I won't give away spoilers as to how it does that because that is the big thing about linking it all together that you will need to see for yourself. It is understandable enough, but the way the tone does not change through the book and how each male character sounds the same makes the metafiction aspect seem really underwhelming. The lack of discernable qualities in the characters might make it deep and meaningful in the sense that it is correctly representing the jobs that these people are in but it makes for very boring characterisation.

All in all, I thought the concept and the initial stages of bringing the story to the reader were really well done, but I did think there were tons of ways it could have been more. It felt underwhelming and lacking scope a lot of the time and thus, was actually quite boring.


About the Creator

Annie Kapur

188K+ Reads on Vocal.

English Lecturer.

Film and Writing (M.A)

📍Birmingham, UK

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