We tell ourselves stories about money to live on

Stories about American capitalism tend to have a recognizable villain: a robber baron, a business tycoon, a financial investor, your boss. But, as Karl Marx once said, the evil capitalist is “only personified capital.” He wrote that the work of capital is much more terrible, which “lives like a vampire only by sucking live labor, է the longer it lives, the more labor it sucks.” writing about: that:As he personally knew, it was much more difficult.

Look around today չէ it is not difficult to see the creeping forces of capital life still playing. We feel it for the benefit of tech companies, the exploitation of migrant labor, the economic and physical dominance of Amazon. The world of industry, of finance, of its “long-term” spread to our lives, has only been complicated since the days of Marx. However, the challenge of writing about the shadow system behind the “evil capitalist” remains. How does one even begin to fix its curves?

Hernan Diaz’s new novel Trust:, accepts the challenge of telling the intricacies of modern capitalism. It begins with the collapse of the Wall Street stock market in 1929, which traces the ups and downs of economic history from the perspective of individuals. Trust: It is a bold work of the period that, in four acts, each framed as a “book”, seeks to dispel the rigid conventions underlying the myths of American power. And it skillfully shows how stories about the nation’s uniqueness are inseparable from money circulation.

Trust: begins like a fairly ordinary bourgeois novel, representing the rich inner life and living spaces of the elite ruling class. His first book, Bonds, about the mysterious illness and death of Benjamin Rusky, a successful financier in the 1920s, and his wife Helen’s work, works as a narrative temptation, drawing readers into a velvet world. 1%. “With false proportions,” says his gossipy narrator, “when Benjamin ascended to new heights, Helen’s condition declined.”

However, when it fits us into this environment, Trust: begins to expose it to its foundations. The second book, “My Life”, is stylistically shocking. This is the story of the first-person financier named Andrew B. Bell, whose description of his success on the stock exchange, the recently deceased wife Mildred, is terribly similar to the story in the movie “Bonds”. »: Bell’s autobiography, presented in manuscript, is “bombarded (he often compares the trajectory of his life with that of a nation)”, written in small notes for details (“More on Mildred’s Spirit”; “More Home Scenes: His Little Touches”). Jokes “).

The overlapping descriptions of the two books are so unusual that “My Life” initially reads as a mistake. To begin with, I kept coming back to Bonds to confirm that I had not misunderstood the names of its characters. But the third book, Memory, Remembered, explains why. The story of this first person is written by Bell’s ghost writer Ida Partenza, the daughter of an Italian anarchist who, to the displeasure of her father, works for their class enemy. Nevertheless, being in B.’s trust, Ida can, years after his death, now betray him. His memoir reveals “Bonds”, which was a thin artistic veil of Bell’s life after Mildred’s death. Bjel’s autobiography, in turn, was a highly organized advertising ploy to thwart it. A project of “tilting and equalizing reality,” as he used to explain it to her. Now “A Memoir, Remembered” is doing just that.

Liquid of “bonds”, passing from the most knowledgeable narrator, to B.’s poorly written, stop In:– “then” discovering that the latter must also be produced, – Diaz assumes that no individual perspective can be trusted. Each subsequent section revolves around how difficult it is to approach the previous ones. The title of the novel becomes a “financial instrument game”, a commentary guide for the reader. Diaz makes us guess what “real” is (a word that occurs 34 times in the novel). We may think we know which image is the most reliable, but when you tweak the lens a little, from an established point of view, that comfort almost immediately dissipates.

The revelation comes to mind in the fourth enigmatic book, The Futures, which eventually features Mildred’s own, unrefined voice. “Futures” consists of Mildred’s diary from the last days of her stay in a Swiss resort, when she seems to be going crazy. Mildred’s confessional doodles convey the most private genre Trust:These include the weird details of a bad hospital meal (“I’m tired of milk + meat diet”), as well as more revealing details about my husband’s hand in financial success ( delays “). Through Futures, readers are forced to reevaluate what they thought they knew about the history of Wales, how money and agency are distributed. If Mildred was really the financial genius in her marriage, she could only ever manipulate the stock market by using her husband’s money, his perch. With every powerful man, we can say that there is a more brilliant woman who leads the numbers.

We come to this realization not only through Mildred’s writing, but also through how he organizes it, not only through content but also through the horse. His early notes are clearly categorized as morning (“AM”), noon (“PM”) and evening (“EVE”), which suggests that he is adapting to the passing of time, և perhaps the aftermath. But in the end, his thoughts blur together. As Mildred’s body decays, so do her sentences, which within paragraphs begin to split into sentence fragments (“Limited in Bed,” “No Pleasure in Juice”), and Portanto (“Foggy,” “Full of Birds”). “Futures” ends with more laconic expressions (“Mostly fruit / Hemicrania / Unable to do much”), which are less like the last lines of the novel than the beginning of a poetic flight, so to speak, of future abstractions. According to Mildred, the comfortable bourgeois world of “Bonds” turns into harsh shades of high modernism, angular vectors. Progress suggests that fiction can approach the depiction of capitalist whole, its impossible forms, by presenting it, albeit in vain, in incomparable fragments.

That Trust:The story of “Armenpress” unfolds in such a way that one of the labyrinthine stories of Jorge Luis Borges is not accidental. Originally educated, Diaz wrote his first book on Borges’s narrative puzzles. He has previously rehearsed his genre debut novel, In the distancewhich was the final of the Pulitzer Prize, created during the California Gold Rush, played with Western style strokes. Trust: continues to turn the screws of both genre and structure, relentlessly retelling the same story from different angles. “There is this disgrace about making money,” Diaz said recently Vanity Fair:, discussing the book. “This is a huge paradox in American history, in the midst of this temptation to ‘hyperfetism’ over money.” Written: Trust:Diaz hoped to pursue some of the more ugly aspects of wealth, while at the same time focusing on people, especially women, who do not usually represent the mythical American financial power.

Diaz moves purposefully between these two lenses (wide-angle, close-up), sometimes even matching them in an unusual palimpsest. In an astonishing scene, Ida notices Bell looking out the window of her office when the welder “sitting on a beam that seemed to be floating in the sky” looks back at him. He notes that “each man seemed to be hypnotized by the other” before realizing that the welder was just looking at his reflection in the window. If BJel can see the welder, the welder cannot look back. it is, in fact, a one-sided mirror. Diaz rarely lives from the point of view of an employee, except when that employee is close to the government (like Ida). More often than not, it lends itself to individuals who stand (sometimes consciously) for the wider financial world as a way of bringing readers closer to the abstract complexities of capital accumulation. In: Trust:Bjel is almost a parody of an arrogant capitalist, who writes in his memoirs: “I saw not only the fate of our great nation fulfilled, but also my fate.” But the arch of capital is longer than any solitary life. As the following sections of Ida և Mildred become clear, there is always someone else who can attribute your story.

Trust: In the end, he refuses to specify what the real version of his story is, leaving readers to speculate as to what is “real” and what is “false.” Why Mildred suddenly falls ill just as Bell’s fortune is growing, and whether he is the secret author of Bonds (a theory that entertains the reader) remain open. “Go to sleep,” says Mildred’s last note, “like a needle coming out from under a cloth and disappearing again.” Unwrapped. ” Trust: It ends not with a peak explosion, but with a disappearing magic trick, with only the most naked whisper of a possible heroine. We can not come close to understanding the essence of the mystery. But that hardly makes sense. Instead, we can at least begin to perceive how little we can see.

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