Bookish in the Mitten

Book reviews, book recommendations, book talk, and a little knitting

Magical Realism – a literary device or genre in which the author sends a breath of whimsy into the ordinary world they have created. . . .

Imagine walking down a city sidewalk. Your arm brushes against the low-hanging branch of a tree, which causes blossoms to fall from the tree. As they fall, the flowers turn to gold coins. You put one of the coins in your pocket. When you empty your pockets at the end of the day, you find a wilted blossom dusted with gold-colored pollen. At no time were you surprised by any of this, because magic happens in your world.

That’s Magical Realism (or one aspect of it, anyway). There is much more to be said about this device; it has social and political roots that bear examining, but that is outside the scope of this post.  If you would like to learn more about the concept, start HERE. It’s Wikipedia and it’s a good jumping-off place.

Here are five magical titles, with publication dates ranging from 1967 to 2019:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I have mentioned this book before so I won’t go into great detail, but it’s a wonderful read.  It’s the story of several generations of a family in Colombia; magic runs through the family and through the jungle which stands out in my memory of the book.  Read more HERE.

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya – A small boy with a good heart is raised under the watching eye of a healer – a curandera – named Ultima.  I read this book almost twenty years ago and what stands out for me (besides the magic) is the beauty with which the author imbues the sparse desert in which the story takes place. I honestly don’t even know if that’s accurate, but it’s what I remember. Dig deeper HERE.

Midnight’s Children by Salmon Rushdie – 1,001 people born at the stroke of midnight on the very day of India’s independence are gifted with a variety of amazing special abilities. Could the story exist without the magical gifts? Yes, and it would still be a delight – but the author is giving us some magic.  It’s worth taking.  Grab some magic HERE

Big Fish by Daniel Wallace – I was just thinking that I wished I could share this movie with you, but wanted to stick with books.  As it turns out, the movie is based on a novel. I had no idea.  I can’t say whether the novel is good, but the movie is one of my favorites, filled with magic.  Catch it HERE.

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield –This, also, I have featured previously; it is the story of the mysterious appearance of a young child, and the resulting hope raised in the people of the river town in which she surfaces – literally.  The story could have been told without magic, but it wouldn’t have been the same.  You can read more HERE; I strongly recommend the excellently narrated audiobook.

I recommend that you read these any one of these titles at dusk, preferably with some flowers nearby or an animal at your side. You will be delighted and successfully distracted. You will be charmed.

Stay well, friends. Be safe.  Choose magic. I always do.  

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