Genres of Literature – Magic Realism


Magical

Magical realism, magic realism, or marvelous realism is a genre of narrative fiction that encompasses a range of subtly different concepts. These express a primarily realistic view of the real world, while adding or revealing magical or supernatural elements presented in an otherwise real-world or mundane setting.

Matthew Strecher defined magic realism as “what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe”. 

The characteristics listed below can be included but not exclusively.

Fantastical elements

Fantasy traits are given to characters, such as levitation, telepathy, and telekinesis, which help to encompass modern political realities that can be phantasmagorical.

Real-world setting

The fantasy elements provides the basis for magical realism in the real world. The author does not invent new worlds but reveals the magical in it. In other words, the supernatural realm blends with the natural, familiar world.

Authorial reticence

This is the deliberate withholding of information and explanations about the disconcerting fictitious world by the author, which proceeds with “logical precision” as if nothing extraordinary took place. Magical events are presented as ordinary occurrences. 

More recent examples are Life of Pi and Big Fish.

Do you write or read magical realism?

What is your favorite book in this genre?

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