We all know about book genres like horror, romance, and mystery but there are 35 different genres and their varieties to discover. Let’s look at one of the most interesting, and miss identified genres of literature. Magical Realism is a genre that is often mistakenly used to describe fantasy novels.
Is it just me or are “magic” and “realism” two things that just don’t seem to go together? Like caramel and salt. But go together they do. Indeed it is a strange combination but that combination is what makes writers of magical realism tick. They know how to take the ordinary, everyday world that we know and add just enough fantasy to make those fantastical elements seem…well, normal.
Open up any Magical Realism novels and you will find descriptions of regular people doing regular mundane things, turn the page and that person washing dishes is struggling to keep their wings out of the way while they reach for a new bottle of dish soap in the pantry.
Magical Realism is defined by contradiction. On one side of the coin, it draws on the Realist tradition of depicting the world as we see it, with its details and its everyday problems. But on the flip side, Magical Realism fills the real world with the fantastic, the extraordinary and the supernatural. This fairly new literary movement likes to show how life, even at its most mundane can still get pretty fantastical.
After all, life is pretty weird sometimes. Sometimes taking notice of that weirdness is more real than pretending it doesn’t exist.
In the 1960’s Magical Realism really exploded, in a sense, it went viral, when a number of Latin American writers began pushing the envelope by challenging what we consider to be real, often with political or artistic aims. In addition, it makes us question what is in fact reality. Maybe ghosts do actually exist? Every culture has some variation on the myth of fairies, what if there is some truth behind it? What if that person who found the cure for some horrible disease, really was destined to do just that?
Magical Realism is one of my favorite genres because there is a part of me that wants to believe that there is magic out there.
I hope this explained a genre that can and has been confusing to many. Please comment below and let me know what your favorite magical realism book is.