What’s Magic About Magical Realism

Reality Sets It Apart from Other Speculative Genres

Devette Lindsay

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Photo by Kaushal Moradiya from Pexels

Unequivocally, my favorite genre for literary and cinematic storytelling is magical realism. The use of fantastical elements as metaphors within a real-world setting is engaging. Unfortunately, some works are labeled as magical realism when they would be better categorized as fantasy or praised for their brilliant use of symbolism.

For example: the little girl in the blood-red coat searching for safety in Schindler’s List disturbs the viewer, as it should. But Schindler’s List is a historical drama. The symbol of innocent blood was meant for you, the viewer, not the people in her world.

This distinction is important for those who wish to explore the magical realism genre or avoid it altogether. Although the definition is broad, there are a few specific characteristics that can help you separate it from other forms of speculative fiction.

What is Magical Realism?

Magical realism is a literary genre in which extraordinary elements exist within an otherwise ordinary setting that is similar to our world. The existence of these elements cannot be explained away by logic, nor do they arouse concern, curiosity, or wonder among those who witness them. Their presence is just as normal as a…

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Devette Lindsay

I'm a writer, an avid reader, and a fan of magic found within the mundane. I publish articles on speculative fiction, literature and creativity.