What is magical realism?

Two genres, contemporary and fantasy, have always remained popular among young adults. But what happens when you have books that are both or neither. You might be looking at a work of magical realism

Magical realism is a genre of literature that depicts the real world as having an undercurrent of magic. A combination of fantasy and realism, it explores reality in an imaginative way. while suggesting a deeper meaning.

The world of magical realism is grounded in the real world, but fantastical elements are considered to be normal there. One of the attractions of the genre is that it blurs the line between reality and fantasy. For instance, the presence of dead characters in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, fluidity of time in Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”, and telepathy in Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children.”

How it started

Magical realism developed as a reaction to the realism movement of the 19th Century. The term “magischer realismus.” which translates to “magic realism.” was first used in 1925 by German art critic Franz Roh. And, it gained popularity among Latin American writers, who explored it further.

Magic realism vs. fantasy How does it differ from fantasy novels and fairy tales? Unlike fantasy novels, authors in the magical realism genre present the incredible as normal, every-day life. These novels are based in a realistic setting and present the magical events as ordinary Occurrences.


A classic example is “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” by Salman Rushdie, who is one of the prominent authors of magical realism in English literature. The novel brings together real-world elements and features of magic or the supernatural

The city of Alifbay in which Haroun lives is described as a sad city because the people there are so depressed, they have forgotten the city’s actual name. Similarly, the moon is called Kahani and it’s almost entirely covered in warm water. This water. Rushdie writes, is “Story Water, its colourful and Haroun can see steam rising from it. Do you see the magical realism employed here?

Picture Credit : Google

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