quotPoverty in the US is an unwarranted nightmare for such

"Poverty in the US is an unwarranted nightmare for such a wealthy society": Hernán Díaz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction BBC News Mundo

  • Aylen Oliva
  • BBC News World

3 hours

Image copyrightJohanna Marghella


Hernán Díaz, winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Hernán Díaz wanted to tell from fiction the “mysterious gears that rule the life of capital” on Wall Street.

To this end, after reviewing the great classics of economic theory and history of the United States, he decided in his novel “Trust” to create the universe around Benjamin Rask, a magnate who, in the early 1920s, bought his family’s inheritance by betting on Financial capital multiplied .

Díaz was born in Argentina in 1973, grew up in Sweden, studied literature at the University of Buenos Aires and received his doctorate in philosophy from New York University. He has lived in the United States for 25 years.

Trust (Riverhead Books, 2022), translated into Spanish as “Fortuna” (Anagrama, 2023), was included in the list of favorite books Barack Obamais published five years after his first novel, In the Distance, and has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

From a Los Angeles hotel where he is holding meetings for the adaptation of his book into an HBO series in which he will star Kate WinsletDíaz speaks to BBC Mundo about capitalism in the United States, the inequalities, alliances and betrayals that lurk in the world of money.

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Sometimes a book gets great reviews because it creates a dialogue with its time. Whatwhat does it reveal Trust about this moment?

From the beginning, the novel was conceived as a story about capital, about great fortunes, and the process of accumulating those great fortunes. In that sense, it is a deeply political issue.

Although I’m not interested in writing a literature of denunciation – it’s not the kind of book I read or intend to write – this work is about the inequality inherent in the system in which we live, and a curiosity about these mysterious cogs that govern the life of capital.

But the topic is always relevant, even if it was published in 1963, 1980 or 1991.

WhatTrust is a novel about the great Assets but also about the debate about the truth?

Yes, it’s not just about capital. This novel is also about the systematic and organized form of misogyny, deliberate exclusion, the distortion of truth created by power, the way certain narratives shape our lives, and the blurring line between fiction and reality.

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At what point did you decide you would write one? novel about money?

It wasn’t a precise moment, but a little vague, as I tend to be.

What interested me was a kind of dissonance, very noticeable to me, between what I imagined going with immense happiness, I mean full access to certain experiences, people and places, and the feeling of utter isolation, of paranoia and Captivity.

This conflict between total access and isolation was the beginning of this novel. Then I said: There is something.

Although it is not a denunciation book, you deal with the subject critically.

Obviously I was interested in the political dimension of the subject, which was risky because the last thing I wanted to do when writing a critical novel about these fabulous riches was to end up being blinded by the very object I am questioning wanted.

So I entered this world with great caution and a certain amount of fear.

And he chose the financial world over the productive world…

What interested me was that this immense fortune was completely detached from any production of material goods, material goods and concrete services. In the novel, it’s money that makes money, that’s what interested me, this discrepancy between social value and economic value.

The best paid people in the world are those who make the least material contributions to the economy. And I’m not saying finances are irrelevant. Not at all, I think they can be a very important force to create jobs and improve our quality of life. That means it can be a force for good. Not all financial activity is mere speculation. However, there is a mismatch between the income of these people and the rest of the population.

Image copyrightJohanna Marghella


Díaz was born in Buenos Aires but has lived in New York for 25 years.

The United States, the richest country in the world, has some of the highest poverty rates among developed countries. Why this?

The answer ist quite easy. It’s an absolutely mystical notion of the free market, a religious reading of Adam Smith that resurfaced in the 1980s with Milton Friedman and the Chicago School.

The ideas, which radically defend non-interference, reason that markets are never wrong, that the good of corporations and shareholders inevitably contributes to the good of society, and that society generally thrives when the rich do too . The idea that wealth will overflow.

A view questioned by many other economists…

There are numerous Nobel Prize winners who have statistically proven that these premises are false.

The notion that regulation is not necessary, that the well-being of shareholders coincides with the well-being of the population at large, because the richer the richer the better off society, ultimately leads to specific fiscal policies: tax cuts, cuts in infrastructure works, education.

And that creates a huge vicious circle. You go into debt, for example, to study or to have a tooth pulled, and that’s how these numbers feed. Poverty is a crazy and unwarranted nightmare for a society as rich and powerful as America’s.

What role do migrants play in building large Assets In the United States?

Immigrants are an integral part of the novel. From the first page I talk about it very consciously. I do not present this powerful man of American nobility as a blue-blooded person, but as an immigrant.

In the United States, we are all immigrants unless you are from these countries that, like Latin America, have been exterminated, excluded, and marginalized.

Unless one belongs to these communities, we are all immigrants, beginning with the first Puritan settlements. The novel speaks very explicitly of how these various migratory flows discriminate against the new communities just as much as they suffered.

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In his novel he says in his voice one of YesWe narrators, who generally prefer to think it’s us active subjects of our victories but only passive objects of our defeats. Can we apply this idea to the mode? In Andhe what OperaNO the big banks at the time of questions rescues?

Yes absolutely. We are all against government intervention until tragedy happens. It’s as if these catastrophes are almost meteorological: there’s nothing I can do about it.

If I’m okay, it’s because I’m brilliant and it’s my responsibility. Big companies that make big profits are viewed by the banks as if they alone are responsible, but when something goes wrong it’s an act of God, a tragedy.

In his novel, the millionaire appears who, thanks to privileged access to information, takes risks in transparent moments. How important is information in their construction? Assets?

Central to the novel’s financial intrigue is exclusive and early access to information. In return, you will learn how to create timelines based on the information available. That’s important in the novel.

There are different mirror motifs that are inverted and reversed, there are scenes that are repeated at different times, that is, there are all these games of time that are also a kind of reflection of the games of time that are in the financial world happen .

Why do you think there is no left in the United States? strong?

Partly because there was a brutal repression of these groups in the first decades of the 20th century, in which the Italians played a central role, which also appears in the novel. Many of them were socialists, communists, anarchists and trade unionists. All these attempts at work organization were finally crushed in a very bloody manner. There are many examples of this throughout history.

Can you identify other elements?

It may also be related to a very strong crossover between religion and politics, particularly since the 1950s, which reemerged strongly in the 1980s with evangelicalism.

The Cold War was always in the background at a time when the Soviet Union was viewed not only as a rival but as an existential threat to the United States. Therefore, any association with anything even remotely related to Communism was considered treason. This has radically shaped the political spectrum in this country.

In the United States, the mere word “social” breeds terror.

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