I love magical realism books! Magical realism is a literary genre that blends the ordinary with the extraordinary. It is a style that combines realistic narrative with elements of fantasy, creating a world where the supernatural is an accepted part of everyday life. Magical realism books are often marked by their richly detailed descriptions, vibrant characters, and complex storylines that combine myth and reality.
Magical realism has its roots in Latin America, where it emerged as a literary movement in the 1940s and 1950s. Some of the most well-known authors in this genre include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, and Jorge Luis Borges. However, magical realism books have since spread across the globe, with writers from all cultures and backgrounds adopting the style.
Magical Realism Books
The Love Scribe – Amy Meyerson
Looking for a bit of romance? You’ll enjoy this one among magical realism books. When Alice’s best friend, Gabby, is reeling from a breakup, Alice writes her a heartfelt story to cheer her up. While reading it in a café, Gabby, as if by magic, meets the man of her dreams. Thinking the story might have some special power to it, Gabby shares it with her sister and other friends, who all find instant love. Word of mouth spreads, and Alice stumbles upon a new calling–to be a love scribe.
But not all the love stories she writes unfold as expected. And while Alice tries to harness her extraordinary gift, she is summoned to a mansion in the woods where she encounters the reclusive Madeline Alger and her mysterious library. As Alice struggles to write a story for Madeline, her most challenging assignment yet, she’s forced to confront her own guarded heart. Because maybe–just maybe–there’s a love story waiting to be written for her, too. One filled with love among magical realism books.
The Peach Keeper – Sarah Addison Allen
A contemporary romance among magical realism books. It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago.
The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.
But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it—an easy-going one among magical realism books.
Remarkably Bright Creatures – Shelby Van Pelt
After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night cleaner shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. Ever since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat over thirty years ago keeping busy has helped her cope. One night she meets Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium who sees everything, but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors – until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late… A charming one among magical realism books.
The Crane Husband – Kelly Barnhill
A new one among magical realism books. A fifteen-year-old teenager is the backbone of her small Midwestern family, budgeting the household finances and raising her younger brother while her mom, a talented artist, weaves beautiful tapestries. For six years, it’s been just the three of them—her mom has brought home guests at times, but none have ever stayed.
Yet when her mom brings home a six-foot tall crane with a menacing air, the girl is powerless to prevent her mom letting the intruder into her heart, and her children’s lives. Utterly enchanted and numb to his sharp edges, her mom abandons the world around her to weave the masterpiece the crane demands.
In this stunning contemporary retelling of “The Crane Wife” by the Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, one fiercely pragmatic teen forced to grow up faster than was fair will do whatever it takes to protect her family—and change the story. An interesting one among magical realism books.
One of my faves among magical realism books. This novel by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk is set in the mythical Polish village of Primeval, a microcosm of the world populated by eccentric, archetypal characters and guarded by four archangels, and chronicles the lives of the inhabitants over the course of the feral 20th century in prose that is forceful, direct, and the stylistic cousin of the magic realism in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Told in short bursts of “Time,” the narrative takes the form of a stylized fable, an epic allegory about the inexorable grind of time and the clash between modernity (the masculine) and nature (the feminine) in which Poland’s tortured political history from 1914 to the contemporary era and the episodic brutality visited on ordinary village life is played out. A great one mong magical realism books.
Piranesi – Susanna Clarke
Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has.
In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides that thunder up staircases, the clouds that move in slow procession through the upper halls. On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend, the Other. At other times he brings tributes of food to the Dead. But mostly, he is alone.
Messages begin to appear, scratched out in chalk on the pavements. There is someone new in the House. But who are they and what do they want? Are they a friend or do they bring destruction and madness as the Other claims?
Lost texts must be found; secrets must be uncovered. The world that Piranesi thought he knew is becoming strange and dangerous. A beguiling one among magical realism books.
The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern
When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a mysterious book containing details from his own life among its pages, it leads him on a quest unlike any other.
Following the clues inside, he is guided to a masquerade ball, a dangerous secret club, and finally to an ancient library hidden far beneath the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians – it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes across time, and of stories whispered by the dead.
But when the library is threatened, Zachary must race through its twisting tunnels and sweetly soaked shores, searching for the end of his story. A fun one among magical realism books.
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino
One of my all-time faves among magical realism books. You go into a bookshop and buy If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino. You like it. But alas there is a printer’s error in your copy. You take it back to the shop and get a replacement. But the replacement seems to be a totally different story. You try to track down the original book you were reading but end up with a different narrative again.
This remarkable novel leads you through many different books including a detective adventure, a romance, a satire, an erotic story, a diary and a quest. But the real hero is you, the reader. If you choose one book, pick this one among magical realism books.
The Night Tiger – Yangsze Choo
In 1930s colonial Malaya, a dissolute British doctor receives a surprise gift of an eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy. Sent as a bequest from an old friend, young Ren has a mission: to find his dead master’s severed finger and reunite it with his body. Ren has forty-nine days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth forever.
Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker, moonlights as a dancehall girl to pay her mother’s debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir that leads her on a crooked, dark trail.
As time runs out for Ren’s mission, a series of unexplained deaths occur amid rumours of tigers who turn into men. In their journey to keep a promise and discover the truth, Ren and Ji Lin’s paths will cross in ways they will never forget. A captivating one among magical realism books.
The Cartographers – Peng Shepherd
Some places you won’t find on any maps. Others, are only on maps . . .
Nell Young hasn’t spoken to her father, the world-respected cartographer Dr. Daniel Young, in years – but this morning he was found dead in his office at the New York Public Library.
When they last met, Dr Young fired Nell after an argument over a seemingly worthless mass-produced highway map. Now every copy of this map is being found and destroyed . . .
To find out why, Nell will embark on a dangerous journey into the heart of a conspiracy beyond belief, discovering her family’s darkest secrets and the true power that lies in maps . . . An interesting one among magical realism books.
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Are there any magical realism books you’d like to add to this list? Would you please share in the comments section below?