Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide
"Trust" by Hernan Diaz
• Fox pays Dominion Voting $787 million; fires Tucker Carlson.
• Study shows companies with gender-diverse boards earn more.
Young Hernan Diaz immigrated with his family to Stockholm after the military overthrow of the Argentinian government. For the past 20+ years, Diaz has lived in the NYC neighborhood where much of Trust is set. While writing a novel, Diaz exclusively reads material related to his book.
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Featured Reader Wanted!
– Share your key take-away about inclusion in this book in a sentence or two.
– Write a paragraph or two (up to 250 words) to describe your thoughts on exclusion/inclusion in the book, why you related or did not connect with the book, and why you think reading, inclusion and dialog about inclusion matter.
– Identify the name and website address of a cause you support with an inclusive mission.
Tycoon’s rise to power, egoism, self-duplicity during Roaring 20s/Depression.
You’re reading the second part of the book and think: Isn’t this what I just read but different?
Four conflicting accounts describe the business life and wife of a NYC financier. Trust opens with a Wharton-esque style story of a powerful businessman. The titan’s incomplete, self-important memoir follows. Third is an expose memoir by the woman hired to ghostwrite/spin/invent details in the businessman’s own memoir. The final piece is the revealing journal of the investor’s wife.
Decide who and what you can trust in the novel’s ten listening hours/416 pages.
Question accounts of why someone is successful. Myth, omission, lies, and self-deception may mask the truth.
Focus is on the pinnacle of the economic food chain: the white Wall Street investor baron who takes advantage as the country nosedives and presents himself as a humanitarian. The isolation and loneliness of the powerful are emphasized; the rich portrayed as people incurious about how and who gets their bidding done. An anarchist, a social climber, a future, journalist, servants, and medical professional are foils. Hidden from public view is the brilliant wife. Circumstances required to build capital are examined and there’s scrutiny on the Federal Reserve as well as speculators who borrowed to invest in the market.
Serve your indulgence -- hot cocoa -- no matter the season. If feel you must interact with toadies who invade your salon, let the fare your servants prepare get cold as you recount a murder mystery in excruciating detail. Or serve Swiss sanitarium specialties like beef tea thickened with tapioca, meat jelly, and milk.
“Where do you think Dante would have lodged the savants of Wall Street? In the fourth or the eighth circle of Hell? Greed or Fraud?”
Gather in a powerbroker’s home office with details that impress like high-class doorknob, plenty of space around the sofa, and a Persian carpet threadbare in area adjacent to antique stock ticker.
What do the inconsistencies in the book reveal about self-deception, failure, and prejudice? What were the biggest lies in the book?
How do omission and lack of attribution affect careers and marriages?
What’s your takeaway on how fortunes are built? Discuss inherited wealth, slavery, land appropriation, and spin.
Is it in the best interest of a business and its leader to focus on the needs of others?
In what ways does the isolation of the very rich shape their worldviews and actions and, therefore, what happens to the rest of us? How are the children of the wealthy disassociated from the lives of their parents?
In what subtle ways can someone who is very powerful/influential/wealthy take advantage of others?
How are the people who are not calling the shots and making big money addressed in this novel?
How have journalism and technology changed the way we view news, newsmakers, and the marginalized?
How have journalism and technology influenced the way we use and view time?
What’s your point of view and the novel’s on access to healthcare, experimental medical treatments, and end of life decisions?
In what ways is a personal journal helpful.
Why did Diaz reference “America First?”
Compare your reaction to Trust and Demon Copperhead. How did the two 2023 Pulitzer winning novels affect your perception of wealth and poverty? Where is the overlap between the two orphaned main characters who live in very different circumstances?
Visit NYC locations where Diaz wrote Trust -- The Center for Brooklyn History and the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center – and take a tour of the New York Stock Exchange while you’re in the city. If happen to be in Lake Como, sneak a peek at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center which host authors like Hernan Diaz, and other artists, scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and scientists from all over the world.
Or travel all over Europe and stay in pensionnes and other inexpensive lodgings until you wangle invitations to enjoy the hospitality of wealthy expats and locals.
HBO limited series of Trust scheduled for 2023.
“In the Distance” (2017 Pulitzer finalist).