Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

May 15 2022
Exploring Wealth and Privilege With a Unique Narrative Lens, and Father/Daughter Story Told Through Time Travel Lens
Trust by Hernan Diaz. The author's first novel, In the Distance, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and his unconventional new effort could well produce similar attention. Set in the early 1900s, the book focuses on a legendary Wall Street tycoon, Andrew Bevel, and his aristocratic wife Mildred. Together, they have survived the Wall Street crash of 1929 and risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune?

That's the story Diaz sets out to tell, but he chooses a bold and unique format to do so, creating four different narratives written by four different characters in four different styles. The first piece is an unflattering novel titled Bonds about a wealthy financier and his wife, who prove to be thinly disguised versions of Andrew and Mildred Bevel. Part two is an unfinished memoir, undertaken by Bevel in response to the perceived indignities wrought by Bonds, that does little to help his cause. In the third 'chapter,' we meet Ida Partenza, an ambitious magazine writer who reveals more about Bevel as she writes about her time as his secretary. Ida also discovers a diary written by the now-deceased Mildred, which introduces readers to the woman whose mental health (and characters' reaction to it) are a recurring theme in Diaz's book.

In a starred review, Booklist said, “For all its elegant complexity and brilliant construction, Diaz's novel is compulsively readable, and despite taking place in the early 1900s, the plot reads like an indictment of the start of the twenty-first century with its obsession with obscure financial instruments and unhinged capital accumulation. A captivating tour de force that will astound readers with its formal invention and contemporary relevance."
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub. The author of bestselling novels like All Adults HereThe Vacationers, and Modern Lovers is something of a rock star in the bookstore world. In addition to being a writer, Straub and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. With her new novel, just out this week, Straub delivers her own take on the increasingly popular subject of time travel in a warm and witty father-daughter story. Here's a description from the publisher:

On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But her father is ailing, and it feels to her as if something is missing. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. But it isn’t just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her high school crush, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 40-something version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything that she would change if she could? 

Vogue magazine included This Time Tomorrow in its “Best Books of 2022, So Far” with this blurb: “Known for her plucky voice and sweetly amusing ensemble comedies, Emma Straub returns with her most emotionally resonant work yet… Beneath the layers of ’90s nostalgia and sci-fi portals to the past lies something even more satisfying: a complicated tale that doesn’t feel the slightest bit complicated.”