Top 5 Saturday is hosted by Mandy over at Devouring Books and today’s theme is Magical Realism. I’ve drawn a complete blank in terms of today’s theme so I turned to a goodreads list which confused me even more! There are so many books that I would class as fantasy which are placed in the magical realism category.
I’ve decided to pick 5 that I think fit the genre the most in my eyes.
The Upcoming Schedule Is:
3/7/20 — Trilogies
3/14/20 — Books with Beautiful Covers
3/21/20 — Magical Realism
3/28/20 — Murder Mystery
1Q84 (1Q84 #1-3) by Haruki Murakami
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realises, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unravelled.
As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.
The Binding by Bridget Collins
Books are dangerous things in Collins’s alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It’s a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.
But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.
All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative — the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange’s heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.
Lanny by Max Porter
There’s a village sixty miles outside London. It’s no different from many other villages in England: one pub, one church, red-brick cottages, council cottages and a few bigger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might do anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs.
This village belongs to the people who live in it and to the people who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, a figure schoolchildren used to draw green and leafy, choked by tendrils growing out of his mouth.
Dead Papa Toothwort is awake. He is listening to this twenty-first-century village, to his English symphony. He is listening, intently, for a mischievous, enchanting boy whose parents have recently made the village their home. Lanny.
Pine by Francine Toon
They are driving home from the search party when they see her.
The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men. Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.
In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.
Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.
Are these books Magical Realism? What makes them different to Fantasy?
See you in the next one…
9 thoughts on “-| What is Magical Realism? Top 5 Saturday |-”
I have always been a bit confused by what Magical Realism is, so you are not alone Blair.
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I’m so glad I’m not the only one!
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Lol magical realism is a bit confusing. The way I think of it is that it’s set in the real world, but with some magical elements mixed in. But it’s not like urban fantasy where there tends to be lots of witches and elves and magical races. I tend to think of things like Big Fish, The Night Circus, The Time Traveler’s Wife… things like that. There is definitely a bit of crossover with other genres.
The Binding and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell both almost made my own list, so I’m glad to see someone else wants to read them too. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell looks like a book that I could totally see myself giving 5 stars, but I always second guess when I think something might be 5 stars and I’m hesitant about long books like that.
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Thank you! I was so confused that I nearly didn’t take part in this weeks theme.
I’m nervous about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell too as it is so long but like you I’m pretty sure if I do pluck up the courage to start it then I will really enjoy it.
I do have to admit that I am starting to run low on topics. Think I’m gonna ask on twitter for some recommendations.
I am nervous about Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell for the same reason but I also tend to love super long fantasies like that. I just need to pick them up at the right time.
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I will try and come up with a few ideas for you 🙂
Okay, I think I’m gonna ask everyone on twitter to pitch in in a little bit