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Magical Realism

Within the realm of fiction, there is a genre known as magical realism; this is marked by a mostly realistic presentation of the modern world, peppered with various elements of the magical world. While every text is different, there are some aspects that are common among many that would fit into this particular genre, even if the specifics, frequency, and depth can vary. Many authors in this genre do not create new worlds, but instead reveal the magic that already exists in the world around us. Magical RealismThe supernatural and the familiar often blend seamlessly, though full explanations as to how things work or why they exist in some form or fashion are often lacking. Often the magical elements are presented as ordinary and routine, rather than spectacular or noteworthy.

Literary scholars often posit that magical realism emerged in the postcolonial world of the early-20th century. Authors had to try and understand the combined world they existed in, so they used literature as a means of blending the real world (the world of the conquerors, the world that was thrust upon them) with the realm of fantasy (the world of their indigenous past). It only makes sense, then, that a common theme in this genre is that of social commentary or critique, particularly directed toward the elite or governing classes. Challenging people to accept what they know as truth in their reality can help them to see the importance in challenging the alleged truth of their political or social leadership. Some of the most prominent authors that adhered to this theme in much of their writing include Isabel Allende, Jorge Amado, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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