Riverhead. May 2022. 416p. ISBN 9780593420317. $28. F
After debuting with the epic Pulitzer Prize finalist novel In the Distance, Diaz returns with pokes at the boundaries of fiction. It’s made of four “subworks” in various states of completion that together shape the tale of a fictional American oligarch, Andrew Bevel, whose skilled stock market manipulations may have caused the Twenties boom and subsequent Great Depression. The first work is a short novel, a fictionalized take of Bevel’s success and his wife’s loss of her grip on reality. The second is ostensibly Bevel’s unfinished autobiography, which he wrote to correct supposed errors in the novel. Actually, it’s written by a ghostwriter, Ida Partenza, whose memoir forms the third work. Last is a memoir fragment by Bevel’s dying wife.
VERDICT Both historical and postmodern, this novel gives readers the task of interpreting its multiple parts and narrators, making it an intriguing, stimulating read. Throughout, Diaz’s stirring prose and unforgettable imagery shine through, notably in his poetic descriptions of high finance. He also holds a mirror up to the oligarchs of our own era, reflecting their greed and fragile egos. Highly recommended.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing