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Pages of Mourning

a novel by
Diego Gerard Morrison

$ 14.21 $ 18.95
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Pages of Mourning, a novel by Diego Gerard Morrison (Two Dollar Radio, 2024)

Pages of Mourning is a stunning achievement, a pioneering and inventive novel that confronts family history, creativity, Magical Realism, and the impact of violence from Mexico’s drug war, by a magnificent new talent in Diego Gerard Morrison.

It’s 2017 and the crisis of forced disappearances has reached a tipping point after 43 docent students disappeared and are feared dead. Aureliano Más the Second is a fledgling writer at a lucrative fellowship in Mexico City chaired by his aunt, Rose. When Aureliano was very young, his mother left without reason or trace. Aureliano is attempting to write a novel that mirrors his mother’s unexplained disappearance while shattering Magical Realism as a genre in the process. It doesn’t help though, that he’s named after the protagonist of a touchstone of the Magical Realist canon, and raised in the mythical town of Comala.

Aureliano searches for insight and closure from his father and from Rose, who grappled with his mother’s disappearance through a failed novel of her own. Their stories lead back to the 1980’s and the burgeoning drug trade, as Rose and Aureliano’s mother journey as young runaways throughout the Mexican countryside. Meanwhile, Aureliano’s addictions and the overwhelming burden of the past threaten his tenuous position at the fellowship, just as a deadly earthquake strikes Mexico City on the exact same date as a legendary earthquake struck in 1985.

Pages of Mourning is a daring, captivating, darkly funny novel that grapples with uncertainty and loss in a land of violence and superstition, while questioning whether Magical Realism as a genre is capable of confronting the brutal dissonance of a country that awaits the return of the missing while not wholly acknowledging their death. Monumental, lyrical, and engrossing, Pages of Mourning is a towering accomplishment by one of the most exciting new writers at work today.


"Reminiscent of the best passages in Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives. Morrison has written the next chapter in the Magical-Realist-Surrealist-Realist-Infrarealist lineage, a suspenseful—what else, after all, does a wait consist of?—entry into the canon of the Mexican present."
—Sean McCoy, The Brooklyn Rail - (Read review.)

“Morrison’s voice reflects his work as a writer, editor and translator based in Mexico City, who seeks to interrogate “the concept of dissonance” through blended art forms such as poetry and fiction, translation and criticism. His story could be seen as an archetype, criticism, or a reflection through linguistic cadence on Pan American literature. There’s nothing magical, in the genre sense, in Morrison’s story. There are no magical rivers, enchanted messages, babies born with tails. Morrison’s dissonance is real — people get disappeared, they suffer addictions, writer’s block, crazy parents, crazier shamans, blank pages, corruption, the loss of loved ones. In this depiction of real Pan-American life — because all of this we are also explicitly suffering up North — Morrison finds his magic. His Aureliano is our Aureliano. He’s someone we know. Probably someone we loved — someone trying so hard to live.”
—Marcela Davison Avilés, NPR - (Read review.)

★ “Riveting, gripping, and atmospheric, the latest from award-winning, Mexico City-based Gerard Morrison (The Wait) takes readers on a whirlwind trip across his homeland. Macondo, the magical utopia of One Hundred Years of Solitude, is an object of desire that remains elusive in Morrison’s gritty tale of violence and love.”
—Lisa Rohrbaugh, Library Journal, starred review - (Read review.)

“Morrison asks us to consider how synchronicity—which can feel like magic—is generative both in life and in writing”
—Devin Kate Pope, BOMB - (Read interview.)

"Diego Gerard Morrison’s novel “Pages of Mourning” is a satirical look at the impact of U.S. drug consumption on Mexicans caught in cartel violence"
—Coco Picard, Electric Literature - (Read interview.)

“Disappearance, ghosts, and the brutal drug trade all enrich this powerful, haunting story of loss and literature.”
—Melanie Fleishman, The Center for Fiction

"Both haunted and haunting... Gerard Morrison has no trouble exploding narrative possibilities. Ultimately, Pages of Mourning reckons with how to make meaning out of life when resolution remains forever out of reach, and with how to mourn—how to move forward in time—when there is no body to bury."
—Kristen Martin, The Believer

★ "Inventive and thrilling... Gerard Morrison brilliantly interweaves Aureliano’s personal story of loss within the larger context of the devastation caused by drug trade violence, and what begins as a critique of magical realism turns into a begrudging acceptance of its enduring power... It’s an impressive achievement."
Publishers Weekly

"Morrison may have shattered magical realism already, or at least cracked its dusty looking glass. Morrison’s measured but expansive prose paints a moving picture of how artists use the supposed alchemy of the creative process to confront grief."
—Stephen Meisel, Southern Review of Books - (Read review.)

"Pages of Mourning by Diego Gerard Morrison is very funny and very sad and very, very smart. Unafraid to make his fiction work on and around questions of unambiguous gravity, Morrison never forgets the importance, indeed the power, in the endeavor of play. The world that emerges from this crafty 'universe of dust' is lit everywhere with empathy and insight."
Laird Hunt, author of Zorrie

"One of those rare books that emerges from the clashing of several schools of literature, filled with sad young literary men and women, tortured by art and life and their creations. If The Savage Detectives had a younger, rowdier sibling, this is it."
Fernando A. Flores, author of Valleyesque and Tears of the Trufflepig

"At once bookish and political, this novel crossfades between times, places and states of being—mourning, motherhood, Mexico Cityhood, impermanence, disappearance, border-crossing—while defamiliarizing the familiarly neurotic trope of the writer-who-cannot-write to ask whether and why writing matters."
—Gabriela Jauregui, author of Feral

"This propulsive novel contains many novels, written ones and unwritten ones, by invented authors as well as marquee names in twentieth-century fiction: Rulfo, García Márquez, Pynchon, Lowry… Places are haunted and rendered so convincingly that, while reading, more than once I had to remind myself I wasn’t in downtown New York; the subway in Mexico City; a farm on the Mexican Pacific coast; a coffee estate in, of all places, Comala... Diego Gerard Morrison has written a glorious kaleidoscope of a book in which the roads to artificial paradises lead to hell. When the dead are as restless as the living, how do we mourn them?"
Mónica de la Torre, author of Repetition 19

"What’s astonishing is not so much Morrison’s uncommon eye, which concentrates the world into such detailed acts of description that we can just about see the tonsils of each speaking character, but the fact that the novel is paced like the Preakness, so that once begun, we find it’s impossible to look away. Pages of Mourning is not magic, but magisterial realism."
Forrest Gander, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Be With and The Trace

"An emotionally gripping novel about a writer struggling with his own artistic stagnation and personal grief and loss while simultaneously pursuing Mexico’s tumultuous history of violence and forced disappearance. Diego Gerard Morrison masterfully intertwines individual and collective trauma through the lens of magical realism. A literary masterpiece, Pages of Mourning illuminates the complexities of existence with haunting beauty and profound insight."
—Shirin Neshat, director of Women Without Men

"Haunted since childhood by his mother's abandonment, Aureliano is struggling to write a novel about her disappearance. Set between Brooklyn and Mexico Pages of Mourning by Diego Gerard Morrison is a bitingly funny novel about family, loss, grief, and creativity steeped in the food, drink, literature, superstition, and magical realism of Latin America. Pages of Mourning is a standout novel of 2024."
—Caitlin Baker, Island Books (Mercer Island, WA)

"Sad boy lit, but make it playful"
—Rosa Hernandez, on Instagram

Pages of Mourning by Diego Gerard Morrison is featured in Bookshop.org's "100 most anticipated books of 2024":
"New year, new books to get excited about. From literary fiction to compelling essays, heart-pounding romance to heart-breaking poetry, these are the 100 books we’re looking forward to this year."
—Bookshop, "100 most anticipated books of 2024"
Bookshop on Instagram Pages of Mourning a 2024 top 100 most anticipated

Praise for Myth of Pterygium:

“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.”
The Masters Review

“A gently terrifying, funny, and almost unbearably moving feat from an extraordinary imagination.”
Maryse Meijer, author of The Seventh Mansion


Diego Gerard Morrison, author of Pages of Mourning (Two Dollar Radio, 2024)

Diego Gerard Morrison (Mexico City, 1984) is a writer, editor and translator whose recent work explores themes of Magical Realism and appropriation in the context of the Mexican drug war. He is the author of The Wait, an appropriation of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in a setting of Mexican cartel violence and its resulting crisis of forced disappearances. His debut novel, Myth of Pterygium was the winner of the Rising Prize in Fiction. He is the cofounder and fiction editor of diSONARE, an editorial project based in Mexico City. He lives in Mexico City.

Visit the author page for Diego Gerard Morrison.

Sneak Peek

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Cover design: Eric Obenauf.
Cover photo: Benjamin Child on Unsplash.
Author photograph: Courtesy of the author

TERRITORY: U.S. & Canada
FORMAT: Paperback Original (1st printing, gatefold)
LIST PRICE: $18.95
PAGES: 320
PRINT ISBN: 9781953387400
DIGITAL ISBN: 9781953387417
PUB DATE: May 14, 2024
SIZE: 5.5" x 7.5"