Argentine writer Hernán Díaz has won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, along with U.S. novelist Barbara Kingsolver. Díaz won the award for his novel Trust, which is set between 1920 and 1930, and focuses on the role money plays in human relationships.
The jury defined Trust as “a riveting novel set in a bygone America that explores family, wealth and ambition through linked narratives rendered in different literary styles, a complex examination of love and power in a country where capitalism is king.”
The award-winning novel — which is in the process of being adapted for an HBO television series — is told from several points of views and voices. It is divided into four parts: a novel-within-a-novel, an autobiographical profile of the billionaire Andrew Bevel, the memoirs of a secretary and fragments from the tycoon’s wife’s journal. The book brings these parts together in an ambitious look at the machinery that moves Wall Street.
Since its publication a year ago, Trust has been praised by critics and leading figures such as former U.S. president Barack Obama. The novel has also sparked interest beyond literary circles, becoming a hit in the world of American high finance as well.
“I fell in love with English”
Díaz is the son of an Argentine couple who went into exile in Sweden after the 1976 coup. At the time, Díaz was not yet three years old. Upon the return of democracy, the family returned to Argentina, where Díaz earned a degree in Literature before continuing his studies in London and New York, where he has lived for 25 years.
“I’ve been living here for 25 years, but that’s not why I write in English,” Díaz told EL PAÍS in February. “It’s the other way around — I’m here because of English. Before coming to New York, I lived in London for two years. I started reading literature in English as a teenager, and that tradition inexplicably appealed to me on an emotional level. I fell in love with the language. It sounds corny, but there is no other way to explain it.”
Díaz released his first novel, In the Distance, in 2017. The book — which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize — is a play on the Western genre.
For his next book, the novelist decided to focus on the role wealth plays in U.S. national identity. “I was surprised to find that in the United States, a country where it has an almost mystical quality, there are really no novels about money. It’s tough to think of any examples. The novels that we directly associate with money are really about class differences,” he told EL PAÍS.
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