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Ready to step outside your comfort zone? As part of our “best of” literary genre series, we are sharing some of our favorites with the hopes that you find something new to try.

Remember your childhood when you could dive into a magical world and forget everything that existed outside it? How wonderful would it be if you could do the same thing now? To escape this world riding on the back of a dragon. To live where trees talk and witches in purple cloaks make potions that magically cure everything. Do you ever ask yourself if you could do that even now?

Magic has always been something that adds sparkles to what can at times, be an otherwise ordinary world. During childhood, we were told stories of magic, where princes and princesses or even ordinary humans, change the world with magic. Most of our childhood we spent listening carefully for magic to knock on our door. But why should we ever stop waiting for that knock? Maybe as you grew up, the reality of the world hit you in the face. You no longer believed in a door at the back of your cupboard that was a portal to a new world. As you kept growing, your world kept getting complex, with more responsibilities. You didn’t want to fight trolls and dragons anymore, because you had enough for your proverbial dragons to slay.

But why shut magic completely out? Maybe you still crave it, but in a different way. A coffee mug that would keep refilling itself or dishes that would wash themselves sound pretty great right about now with all this extra time we are spending at home. Magic that is rooted in your own world may be just the type of spark you need to fuel your reading journey.

If any of this struck a chord with you, then magical realism might just be your cup of tea. The history of magical realism dates back to the early twentieth century. Then it was popularized by Latin American authors, who presented it in the form as we see it today. Today the list of authors who write this genre is long and includes award winners.

Why read magical realism?

Magical realism has something for everyone. If you have never read this genre, it would be like a breath of fresh air. The plot structure is so unique it is nearly unpredictable. You don’t know what you will bump into on the next page or paragraph. It is full of surprises that will keep you engaged until the very end.

Often, magic loses its charm when its structure and secrets are explained. For that reason, in magical realism, information about magic is very limited. It gives the required air of secrecy that makes the reading experience very intense. You keep wondering, looking for clues, and somehow end up feeling the possibility of magic in your world too.

Magical realism serves to be a tool to critique the powerful in society. Often the protagonists are ones who are from an oppressed and neglected part of the population. An ordinary office goer who cannot express his disregard for oppressive policies or an elderly man whose words go unheard. Here the protagonists are not superheroes, but they experience the mild elements of magic that helps them keep sailing in the world.

Ready to dive in? Here’s where to start.

In recent years, the literary world has begun making space for magical realism. This world is brimming with the works of authors new and old. So, it would never be tough to find something in this genre. But if you are just starting, start with the best. Below listed are some of the best authors you can try reading.

  • Haruki Murakami
    • This Japanese author has created an entire world of magical realism with his unique writing style. His stories are open-ended. With the hint of magic and supernatural elements, these stories will keep you engaged even after you have finished them..
  • Neil Gaiman
    • He writes in a wide range including novels, short stories, non-fiction, and graphic novels. If you wish to read magical realism books by him, read Ocean At The End Of The Lane, American Gods and Coraline.
  • Salman Rushdie
    • Check out the author’s Booker Award-winning work Midnight’s Children, which finely weaves together the dual theme of magical realism and historical fiction.

A new year is the perfect time to try something new…why not add some magical realism to your reading list?

Bhumika Katyayan

Author Bhumika Katyayan

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