Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Magical Mystery

I've mentioned before that I'm not at all clear about what magical realism is. Does it always refer to Latin American books I can't understand? Is it just bringing fantasy elements into a realistic story? Can it involve aliens?

So imagine my surprise when I was at my booksigning on Saturday and my marvelous contact at the bookstore said of Happy Kid!, "I particularly liked the way you worked magical realism into the book."

To which I said, "I wondered if I was doing that."

To which he said, "You certainly were."

Well, this initiated a big discussion on the child_lit listserv when I asked if anyone could suggest examples of magical realism in children's literature because, in addition to said titles, people started talking about how magical realism is defined. Is it this? Is it that? Can it be applied to children's literature at all?

I have not moved forward very far in my understanding of the concept. I do have a list of children's books that may or may not be examples of magical realism, though. I'm going to try to collect some of them for The 48 Hour Book Challenge.

Not only will I be into this intense self-challenge, I will be studying something.

I think I might be going biking that weekend, too.


Blogger Liz B said...

I can't wait for Happy Kid to come in at the library.

As for magical realism, in my cynical mode I call it fantasy written by people who don't want people to think they are writing fantasy.

Less cynical, where the magic is so subtle that one could even argue that it's not there, or it's more about one character's belief/word view than it is about what is "real" (ie Damien sees saints in Millions but they are not real; yet they are real to him; hence its magical realism.)

7:24 PM  
Blogger gail said...

Millions has been mentioned before as a possible magical realism for kids' title. If it isn't super long, I'll try to read it during the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

7:57 PM  

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