The Tyranny of Desire

Fiction - Literary
214 Pages
Reviewed on 11/29/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

MORTY SHALLMAN was born on the West Coast of Illinois and studied creative writing at the University of Chicago. A singer, songwriter, and novelist, he is the creator of Literary Pop, an artistic genre characterized by unique mashups of pop music and literary fiction. Morty’s seminal works of Literary Pop include Love’s Oblivion, A Novel in Twelve Pop Songs (2002), Last of the Zachary’s, A Novel with Songs (2010), and Pop Fiction, An Indie-Noir Musical Thriller (2017). In 2018, Morty was the #1 Indie Recording Artist in LA ( His forthcoming novel, The Tyranny of Desire is “a fast-paced phantasmagoric satire of a debauched contemporary LA, brilliantly written and very funny,” (Robert Grossmith, author of The Empire of Lights), and his novel-in-progress, War and Sex, was shortlisted for a Faulkner-Wisdom Prize. Morty is an AWAL recording artist and a member of NARAS (The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and the Author’s Guild. Morty currently lives in Los Angeles with his dog, Primo the Maltese.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

The Tyranny of Desire by Morty Shallman follows the life of one Puchy Mushkin, a chronic miscreant whose only redeeming quality might be his infamous well-endowed phallus. After dropping out of law school, Puchy dabbled in the world of art, got divorced, and entered into a volatile gay relationship with a man named Robby that ended with quite a spectacle. Nailed to the wall of his loft by his jilted lover, Puchy vows to end the root of all of his perceived ills in his life - his desires. However, wanting to not want anything is not as easy as he previously presumed, something Puchy soon realizes when he joins his old college roommate in the campaign of a mayoral candidate. As Puchy inadvertently inserts himself into one scandalous situation after another, will he achieve what he set out to?

The Tyranny of Desire is the story of a wonderfully flawed man who can't help causing an uproar wherever he goes simply by being himself. Morty Shallman's novel is delightfully wicked, outrageous, and simply a blast to read. Filled with droll humor, quick-witted dialogue, and colorful characters, the narrative keeps you in stitches and rarely allows your attention to waver. Almost all the characters have over-the-top personalities and quirky traits that make for some hysterically funny scenes. Puchy is a man with spectacular delusions of grandeur, at one point even comparing himself to Albert Einstein. How can you not be entertained by a character like that? If you're looking for a good laugh, don't miss out on this one.

Vincent Dublado

The Tyranny of Desire by Morty Shallman certainly defies all notions of traditional storytelling. The main protagonist is an anti-hero with an unusual take on facing existence head-on. Puchy Mushkin is a failed son, a failed student, and now a failed failure. This, according to his dad, who, in the same breath, adds that Puchy can’t even screw up right. Puchy himself wonders what’s wrong. He has been simultaneously crucified, cut off, and evicted so that he is forced to focus on reassessing his existence. As he acknowledges that he is a failure in life and a miserable one to boot, bringing shame and derision on his family and ex-wife, an epiphany strikes him. He realizes that since it’s difficult, if not impossible, to control the cruel vagaries of reality, he intends to do away with all his dreams and live with absolutely no motivation. But life, as he finds out, can be misleading.

Morty Shallman has created a fascinating character in Puchy Mushkin - an ideal study on why we lose motivation. Shallman’s intelligent narrative describes the way Puchy realizes that his behavior invites negative feedback, which results in his decision to live an unmotivated existence. Even more fascinating is that his lack of motivation gives the storyline something unique. Rather than procrastinating, Puchy gets into even more serious trouble. His proposed new endeavor is ironic, as it requires his very best effort to succeed. The Tyranny of Desire is highly recommended for anyone seeking a powerful philosophical tale about meaning. The forces that play their part add weight to Sartre’s dictum that freedom comes with responsibility.

Essien Asian

In The Tyranny Of Desire by Morty Shallman, it's a case of a laugh a minute. Tired of the vagaries that the life of a freeloader has to offer, Puchy Mushkin is once again staring abject failure in the face. His unusually gifted phallus seems to be the only advantage he can point to but when one of his crazed lovers attempts to crucify Puchy and cut it off, Puchy decides it may be time for him to change his approach to life. His friend Shane whisks him off and provides him with a job and a chance at a fresh start if only he can stay out of trouble long enough. That does not look likely with the sultry Jacaranda putting ideas in his head when Gretchen is firmly in his cross hairs. Will Puchy have his way or will Big Puchy take a leading role in upending his attempts?

Morty Shallman's sharp tongue and witty method of describing his primary character's different adventures make for some rather entertaining reading. There is no way you will not join in the laughter when you realize how outlandish some of Puchy's thoughts are. The characters are quite detailed in their descriptions and their origin stories are thorough in presentation. The storyline appears a bit odd initially but the latter section is direct enough to follow comfortably. The Tyranny Of Desire is not your typical novel but the interesting manner in which Shallman uses flowery prose to turn a regular story into a comedic masterpiece is nothing short of praiseworthy.