TRUST can be considered to be a novel written by Hernan Diaz. It consists of four stories: a novel written by the fictitious Harold Vanner, an autobiography (actually more fiction) written by the fictitious Andrew Bevel, a memoir (actually more fiction) written by the fictitious Ida Partenza, and a diary (again, more fiction) written by the fictitious Mildred Bevel. These stories make up the entirety of TRUST. They are not just stories within a story but, rather, stories that are the story. They are accompanied by no explanation but leave the reader to guess and not fully understand until almost the end. At least, I think I now understand, although maybe not fully.
I would say that Ida is the main character. You won’t know that until you are more than halfway through the book, though.
The novel BONDS is presented first because, you will later realize, this is the story that Ida reads first. It is the story of a filthy rich man who made out like a bandit during the Depression and is thought by some to have caused the Depression. You will later understand that BONDS is considered to be the real-life story of Andrew Bevel. The problem is, you are left to understand later too much. That makes for a frustrating read.
Next comes MY LIFE, the autobiography written by Andrew Bevel to correct the implications in BONDS. This is an unfinished manuscript. You will understand in the next story that MY LIFE is actually ghost written by Ida. And you won’t understand why it is unfinished until you read the next story. There are similarities between MY LIFE and BONDS, but you won’t be sure that the husband and wife in MY LIFE are the husband and wife in BONDS until you read the next story. I was still frustrated with a lot of unanswered questions.
Lots of questions are answered in the next story, A MEMOIR, REMEMBERED by Ida Partenza. Now Ida explains much of what I didn’t get.
FUTURES, Mildred Bevel’s diary, explains what Ida didn’t get but not until years and years later. Although Ida already understood that Mildred, not Andrew, was the main character in MY LIFE (and BONDS), she didn’t understand to what extent until she read FUTURES.
TRUST talks a lot about finances leading to the Great Depression. I found it frustrating more often than not. I’m still not sure what point Diaz was trying to make; he surely was trying to make a point.