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Pulitzer winner shares 'Trust' with China readers

Updated: 2024-05-31 07:26 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hernan Diaz (center, on stage) discusses literature, wealth, femininity and music during a dialogue with Chinese writer Zhang Yueran (right) in Beijing on May 17. CHINA DAILY

On his first trip to East Asia, award-winning author discusses 'truth' during literary appearances, Fang Aiqing reports.

Within Johann Sebastian Bach's polyphony — with its repetition, inversion and reversion — novelist Hernan Diaz found inspiration, penning Trust, in a book-within-a-book format, exploring family, wealth and ambition, that won him the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Since the recent publication of its Chinese version, Diaz, who was born in Argentina, raised in Sweden and currently lives in the United States, embarked on his first journey to China, a novel land for him. It was also his first trip to East Asia.

From May 11 to 17, the author was held to a tight schedule of public appearances and book signings in Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing, the provincial capital of East China's Jiangsu province, where he met Chinese counterparts, critics and a group of serious readers who are particularly curious about the male writer who cares for, studies and raises women's voices through storytelling.

Trust revolves around the mysterious wealthy couple Andrew and Mildred Bevel in New York, who earned an exponential fortune during the Great Depression in the late 1920s and '30s.

The story is told in a quartet of narratives rendered in different literary styles, forming integral material for understanding the wealth growth and intimate life of the couple.

The first narrative, Bonds: A Novel, is credited to a fictitious Harold Vanner, followed by the second narrative, an unfinished autobiography of the husband as a result of his anger toward Vanner's work, in which Helen Rask, a character based on Mildred Bevel, struggles with mental illness in the last days of her life.

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