Magical realism is a genre that creates a bridge between reality and the slightly whimsical.
It differs from genres such as fantasy and science fiction by being firmly planted in our world, our reality. In magical realism, we recognize the world in which the story takes place, but there’s an element that is slightly unusual or magical.
One of the reasons I’m personally so drawn to magical realism is that I’ve always had a deep appreciation of surrealist art, and magical realism is its literary equivalent.
Magical realism is wonderful for people that don’t want to take the plunge into fantasy quite yet. Here are five of the best adult magical realism novels.
The Night Circus is a beautifully written novel about a traveling circus and a magic competition. While some people think it’s a story that moves too slowly, I enjoyed the atmospheric setting and the whimsy that Morgenstern created.
Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude is considered the first magical realism novel. Released in 1967, it still defines the genre. The story focuses on seven generations of the Buendia family, whose patriarch founded the fictional town of Macondo.
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White is for Witching is a creepy story about a sentient, magical house. Mysterious things happen, and one of the house’s residents, Miri, seems to be falling down a deep hole of discovering the house’s secrets. It’s a beautifully written novel.
Salman Rushdie is one of my favorite writers for quality of his prose. When I read The Ground Beneath Her Feet, I felt as though I was reading some of the most lyrically beautiful writing in the world. Midnight’s Children is about a man named Saleem, who was one of 1,001 children born at midnight on the eve of India’s independence. All of the children are endowed with special gifts.
Similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Time Traveler’s Wife is widely considered a classic of the genre. It’s a story about love lasting throughout time. The couple in the story, Henry and Clare, try to lead a normal life while Henry is pulled back and forth throughout time.