Magical realism is a truly unique genre of fiction that has been growing in popularity over the last several years. I can absolutely see why: it’s fascinating.
A few years ago, I read a book where the main character relives the same period of his life over and over again after the death of his girlfriend. I was blown away. I’d never read anything quite like that before. There was no cause for the time loop and no explanation as to why it happened by the end of the story. I couldn’t get over it and it made me wonder how the book was categorized. I knew it wasn’t fantasy. There wasn’t magic, per se. Then I learned about magical realism – and immediately knew that I needed to get my hands on every novel in this genre.
If you do a bit of research, you’ll learn there’s a difference between magical realism and low fantasy. While low fantasy is where magical events intrude on an otherwise normal world (ex: Twilight – a normal city in Washington state where supernatural creatures exist), magical realism paints a realistic view of the world while adding magical elements (ex: Opposite of Always – the book I read that contains a boy who lives in a normal world with normal relationships that just happen to repeat themselves).
Something you’ll often find in magical realism is that there is information withheld. You’ll usually never learn why certain circumstances happened the way they did. There’s no explanation for the magic – it just occurs without a “trigger” or reason.
Needless to say, since that first taste of magical realism, I’ve been hooked. Over the last few years, I’ve read a few really incredible books within this genre and now I’m sharing my favorites with you! You’ll notice that there are a few authors that are repeated in the list. That’s because they seem to write the best magical realism novels!