About the Book
This debut novel is set in a vaguely dystopian, yet also realistic, Mexico City—endless traffic jams, relentless clouds of pollution, economic hardships, and the ever-present threat of drug cartels. The unnamed narrator of the novel, at times, referred to as Arthur—in part because of the growing similarity of his life with Arthur Rimbaud’s—struggles with the dissonance of leading an artistic life while providing for his family. A failed, penniless poet with a child on the way, he is forced to take a job in his family’s weapons dealing enterprise, which he soon discovers is connected to the corrupt Mexican armed forces and drug cartels, who are responsible for the increasing death toll in the country. All the while, the narrator struggles with a growing condition in his right eye, a pterygium, that is slowly taking over his vision, blurring the events of his life, including his wife’s complicated pregnancy, extortions by the drug cartels, and his own relationship to his writing. As the narrator gradually finds his life spiraling out of control, the novel moves quickly to a startling conclusion.
Praise for Myth of Pterygium
. . . what makes Morrison’s debut exciting is his ability to tread the line between the mundane and the terrible. The common and the frightening. The writing is razor sharp, able to dance between the narrator’s exasperation in the face of a hack writer and his fear and anxiety as he juggles his family and gun-running cartels.
Like all the best myths, Diego Gerard Morrison’s surrealist mirror throws our own world into such sharp focus it practically draws blood. Simultaneously hallucinatory and utterly clear-eyed, Myth of Pterygium whirls the reader through a near-future-on-fire via the inimitable perspective of a broke poet and father-to-be as he tries to build a future for himself and his family in a city falling apart at the seams. Seeking clarity in the face of literal and figurative blindness, Myth asks us what evils have we inherited—familial, cultural, political, environmental—and is it too late to escape them? How can we confront the present with radical imagination when our survival often seems dependent on our perpetuation of the very systems that are destroying us? Mixing philosophy, slapstick adventure, and meditations on the writing life with encounters with tarot-card-reading matriarchs of firearm empires, Myth employs the high and the low and everything in between in a narrative that is remarkable for its seamless, and seemingly effortless, blend of genres and tones.But even greater than its formal inventiveness is the novel’s generosity of spirit; in the midst of Myth’s grief and uncertainty is the sense that we must live and to love not in spite of, but because of, existential threats on the personal and global scale. A gently terrifying, funny, and almost unbearably moving feat from an extraordinary imagination.
—Maryse Meijer, author of The Seventh Mansion
Written with aberrant rhythm and a vision that is both expansive and at other times remarkably compressed, Diego Gerard Morrison’s debut novel explores what lies in the center of a narrative only to discover events that unexpectedly occur on the margins. Morrison’s prose style seduces the reader with its descriptive originality, while at the core of the protagonist’s cognitive dissonance the flow of images is both filmic and poetic. Myth of Pterygium is a portrait of a young poet who resists social conformity. By the mere virtue of surrendering to time as an existential condition, where the past and present seems to collapse, the poet’s spirit calls forth for the validation of human complexity. His is a miraculous analog that we all can identify as we turn the pages with wondrous pleasure.
—Phong H. Bui, Publisher and Artistic Director, The Brooklyn Rail