Magic realism is a literary style that was popularised in Latin America through the likes of authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende and Jorge Luis Borges. Each magic realism novel contains its own distinctive style, almost making the genre hard to pin down, but there are certain characteristics attributed to magic realism novels that make them their own genre.
For example, magic realism novels are typically set in real-world locations, with magic used to accentuate ordinary occurrences in everyday life. What’s more, magic realist authors often disregard explaining the magical elements of their work to make it seem like it is, ostensibly, part of an everyday occurrence.
Magic realism has come a long way since the days of Marquez’s’ One Hundred Years of Solitude and Borges’ Labyrinths, and is now a popular literary style across the world, with the likes of Japanese magic realism books US readers (and readers from all over the world!) love to get their hands and eyes on.
If you’re looking to get into this fabulous genre and are looking for three amazing books to start with, don’t overlook these at your local library, bookstore or online shop:
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Anyone already familiar with magic realism would probably balk at One Hundred Years of Solitude topping this list. Why? Because it is the quintessential magic realism novel, and could almost be considered cliche placing it at number one.
However, this list isn’t for magic realism aficionados – it’s for people just discovering the genre! One Hundred Years of Solitude possesses all the fantastical elements that make the genre: a real-world setting punctuated by magical occurrences; concepts such as fluidity of time; acceptance of magic as an ordinary occurrence and the human ability to create through magic.
On top of all that it is a simply stunning novel, full of colourful tales and events in the lives of the Buendia family, living in solitude in the ever-changing Colombian countryside.
Cliche? Sure. Worth the read? Always.
- The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray by Jorge Amado
This hilarious novella by legendary Brazilian author Jorge Amado is so readable and entertaining that you could easily get through it on a lazy afternoon. The story revolves around the first death of a man named Quincas Water-Bray, who gave up a good position and family to become a petty waster on the streets of Salvador on Brazil’s northeast coast.
His bemused family cannot believe that the dead man, whose questionable friends have arrived for his wake, is the same man that walked out on him. Eventually, his mates decide to take him out for one last party, traversing the bawdy streets of Salvador and down to the docks for a delicious seafood stew.
It’s a fun and enjoyable tale that is totally worth grabbing a copy (though you may need to find it online!).
- Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar
We’ll start by saying this: Hopscotch ain’t an easy read. In fact, Cortazar’s use of language can be so cryptic that it can almost verge on the downright frustrating. However, if you put in the effort to read this strange and sumptuous novel, you will immerse yourself in a rich journey through the streets of Paris, as protagonist Horacio Oliveira attempts to find his lover, La Maga, who has suddenly disappeared.
What makes this novel even more fascinating is the way in which you, the reader, can actually go about reading the book. You can read it from chapter one onwards, following one order of writing, or you can choose to read as advised by Cortazar himself.
However, if you follow Cortazar’s advice, you will find yourself actually skipping one of the novel’s chapters!
Author Bio = Mashum Mollah is a freelance news reporter and passionate blogger. He shares his journey, insights and experiences at Big Jar News. If you are a news reader, or simply an info-holic, then this site is for you.