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Photo: Pascal Perich / hernandiaz.net
Photo: Pascal Perich / hernandiaz.net

Latino author among 13 writers nominated for Booker Prize 2022

Argentine-American author Hernan Díaz was nominated for 'Trust', a novel set in 1920s New York.

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Argentine-American writer Hernan Díaz is on the list of 13 nominees for the 2022 Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious English-language literary awards.

Of the 13 nominees this year, six are from the United States. In Díaz's case, it's because of his latest novel, Trust (2022) , a story about money and power in 1920s New York. 

The Booker Prize jury, founded in the United Kingdom in 1969, rewards the best works of fiction written in English and published in the United Kingdom and Ireland in the same year.

In his latest novel, Trust, the Buenos Aires-born, Stockholm-raised author explores wealth and money as essential elements in American identity through the protagonists of a 1937 novel. As if it were a novel within a novel, Díaz, through four unfinished manuscripts, explores the lives of Benjamin and Helen Rask, he a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she, the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together they have risen to the top of a world of seemingly endless wealth, all as a decade of excess and speculation comes to an end. But at what price have they acquired their immense fortune?

"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, Díaz writes with assurance, determined to rob us of every certainty," the jury for the Booker Prize wrote.

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

At once an evolving story and a brilliant literary puzzle, Trust engages the reader in a search for truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts.

"As a willing American [Díaz lives in New York], I'm very interested in this nation's ideas about itself. For Trust, I was interested in the role that wealth plays in American national identity, that myth of the self-made man who pulls himself up by his bootstraps through hard work and ingenuity," the author told Interview magazine, an online literary outlet. 

Born in Buenos Aires, his parents fled to Sweden as political refugees when he was two years old. His mother was a psychoanalyst and his father was a photographer, filmmaker and active member of a Trotskyist political group. Both were committed leftists, and together they ran a bookstore selling texts that would be banned after the 1976 right-wing coup d'état.

Díaz holds a doctorate. from New York University, edits an academic journal at Columbia University, and is the author of Borges, between History and Eternity.  

His first novel, In the Distance, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is set in the American West during the Gold Rush. His second novel, Trust, has already been published in 26 countries.

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