Posts Tagged: magical realism
For So to Speak, Madeleine Wattenberg interviews writer Anne Valente. In discussing Valente’s latest book, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down, they touch on magical realism, using multiple points of view to tell a story, and how literature can engage with contemporary issues:
Fiction requires empathy, and also vulnerability and being comfortable with the unknown.
A literary movement aiming to express the surrealist daily life of modern China (a reality that can’t be captured by traditional genres like satire or horror) is giving the next generation of Chinese authors the opportunity to subtly critique their surroundings without government backlash....more
It’s particularly pleasurable to read interview between writers who know each other well. Over at Oxford American, long-time friends Ada Limón and Manuel Gonzales discuss Gonzales’s new novel, The Regional Office Is Under Attack, and what it means to write with an ear to the fantastical:
When I first started writing, though, I was deep into my college career as an English major and when I went to graduate school I aped mid-century realism—Carver, Yates, O’Connor, the like—trying to write austere, terse stories of disillusionment and vague regret, but these bored me.
Beyond the obvious fact of when it was written or published, what does it mean for literature to be contemporary? Is a work’s relevance determined by market trends and cultural currents? In her monthly advice column for Electric Literature, Elisa Gabbert allays a writer’s temporally induced anxieties:
Magical realism “has been done,” yes, but so has everything else.
Maybe there are two Borges in the world, existing at the same time. One is the fiction writer we know, the lover of paradox, the trickster, the forger, the artist who describes fantastical events with straight-faced authority, using the syntax and tone of academia; and then there is this other Borges, the critic, who writes reasonably and clearly, companionably and insightfully, about high-brow and esoteric subjects, whose aim is elucidation rather than bewilderment.
While most of the world lauds Gabriel García Márquez as a literary genius, those from his hometown of Aracataca (on which Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude is based), feel little more than an abiding resentment. The author was in a position to help the town—many of its residents don’t have access to clean water—but did nothing:
García Márquez approved final blueprints for [a García Márquez] museum from his home in Mexico City but provided no other input or financial or public support.
The New Yorker has a retrospective on Carmen Balcells, a Spanish literary agent who brought writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Jorge Luis Borges to international fame. Balcells passed away last week at the age of 85....more
We can toss around “sci-fi,” “fantasy,” “magical realism,” “surrealism,” and a dozen other genres in our struggle to categorize literature, but the term “weird fiction” is an interesting category that attempts to encapsulate a unifying element. Over at Lit Hub, Tobias Caroll makes the case for “weird fiction” and covers several examples of its wide breadth....more
Somewhere between its Kmart and hysterical phases, literary realism got shaken up, when a group of young women writers began crafting a spectral brand of fantastical, strange fiction….Permeating the stories is a sense of omnipresent strangeness made visible.
The Los Angeles Review of Books has a great piece on “our current bumper crop” of women writing—choose your favorite term—magical realism or speculative fiction or just really cool weird stuff....more
“But the idea that genre is a tool, not a prophecy goes beyond combating genre snobbery, I think — it’s actually helpful for writers to think about when crafting their next novel.
Just because there’s this marvelous tool for helping readers to understand your story, doesn’t mean your story has to be crafted around the tool.”
At io9, they’re talking about the advantages of using genre as a tool, especially in regards to sci-fi....more