Before breaking up, Pietro and Teresa confessed their deepest secrets to one another in a failed effort to stay bonded together. In a new relationship, Pietro remains haunted by what he told Teresa, who reappears, it seems, at every major moment in his life. Or is it he who seeks her out?
... a short, sharp novel that cuts like a scalpel to the core of its characters ... Starnone has earned a reader’s trust with another agile analysis of frail humanity. And Lahiri, whose award-winning fiction has made her one of the most visible figures in contemporary American literature, continues her self-effacing yet wildly ambitious project of vanishing into another language and another writer’s prose.
It's an intriguing novel, with the flawed main character of Pietro going an interesting path. Tellingly, he recedes in the final two parts of the novel, barely a presence in Emma's account and completely out of view in Teresa's -- a kind of fade-out for the character. If the leap Starnone makes in the novel, from one part to the final two, -- forty years or so -- is an enormous one, the essentials are still covered: in a sense, everything after Pietro's own account is only a sort of coda ... Emma makes for something of an abrupt change -- she's not much of a character yet in Pietro's account (unlike Teresa), and so to encounter her in full adulthood, with quite the life already behind her (including already having four children of her own) is a fairly abrupt re-situating of the novel. Still, her and then Teresa's account, both focused around this ceremony of recognition for Pietro, do bring the story to a clear close, a final say on Pietro, and also how he affected many of the people in his life ... Starnone writes engagingly, and while his narrators can be difficult people, each willful in their own different way, they and the situations are intriguing enough that they aren't simply too annoying. If not entirely convincing as a character portrait of this specific kind of man, Trust is still a solid and quite appealing read.
Trust, Starnone’s latest book, beautifully translated again by Lahiri, sets out to keep this singularity at its heart while enriching the narrative with a larger cast of characters and a deeper investigation of preoccupations familiar from his previous works: the rewards and sacrifices of a monogamous life, the risks of self-fashioning, what it means to teach and be taught, the precipitousness of looking back on one’s life ... [Starnone] too portrays unflinchingly the violence, physical and verbal, that can erupt within the closest relationships. His plots also twist, turn and drop (Lahiri astutely compares his writing to a rollercoaster). And he too can close his chapters with the kind of high-drama flourish comparable — in the best way — to a soap opera ... This precise, cinematic control of time and perspective gives an impressive sense of grandness to such brief novels, and brings with it the aching poignancy of hindsight.