The genre magical realism has had many aliases throughout the years. Magical realism is hard to define. Many poets and writers throughout the years have tried, and you'd be surprised at the variety of their definitions!
The following terms have been used to describe magical realist writing. Recognizing these will help you identify books of magical realism even when they aren't marketed as such. If you find any of these terms in book reviews or on jacket blurbs, you can assume there'll be something magically realistic about the story.
lo real maravilloso
the marvelous real
What Do They Think It Is?
What do you think would happen if you conducted a poll to determine magical realism's scope of relevance in American culture?
As it turns out, the editors of MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism did just that in 2003, and they discovered some very interesting things about how this genre is perceived by all different kinds of people—scholars, readers, writers and the like.
Mostly, they learned that even the simplest inquiry about magical realism launches a heated and opinionated discussion. Some respondents found no trouble at all in using the term, while others confessed to having spent entire semesters with students trying to define it. And yet it was a general consensus that the term magical realism really is the best way to classify works of this nature.
Find out more details or take this year's magical realism poll at MARGIN!
Published on January 20, 2004