Mystical, Magical Realism

Chrissy Stawasz - L. Pruyne - Period 1

About Magical Realism

Magical realism is a genre in which supernatural elements are applied to an otherwise normal, everyday setting. Fantastic ideas and elements are included in an average environment, and explanations to these things are often glossed over as "normal" by narrators. Often, works of magical realism involve juxtaposition of very different cultures and/or time periods. Meta fiction is an example of magical realism as well. The genre is often a political critique, exaggerating certain elements to make a point.


Magical realism originated in Latin America. Latin American authors were travelling around the world, often to European cultural hubs, and this movement inspired their stories and eventually inspired the genre of magical realism. Soon, the genre picked up in Europe, and it got increasingly popular from there.

Major Magical Realism Names and Titles

Notable names

  • Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez were two of the most iconic, acclaimed magical realism authors
  • Isabel Allende was the first Latin American female writer recognized outside the continent
  • Laura Esquivel wrote about the domestic life of women
  • Juan Rulfo began non-linear storytelling structure
  • Salman Rushdie was a British Indian who incorporated both Latin American and European styles of magical realism into their work


Notable titles

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was an international success, bringing lots of attention to the genre
  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel was an important work about lower class women
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison was an important novel about the tragedies of slave life and the difficulties of raising children in her society
  • The Fleet's In!, a painting by Paul Cadmus was an example of visual art in this genre, with exaggerated details and distortions that make the painting technically unrealisitic

About Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was an author from Colombia who lived from March 6th, 1927 until April 17th, 2014. He was mostly raised by his grandparents, rather than his parents, and they had very strong influence on his early life and development of his ideological views. He was originally a journalist, but he also wrote novels, short stories, and screenplays. He had a wife, named Mercedes, and two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo. He recently died of pneumonia in Mexico City, aged 87 years.


Marquez's works often have supernatural elements in an otherwise everyday environment, putting them under the category of magical realism. He is best known for his novels and novellas, including One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold. He has won a Nobel Prize for Literature. His work is very important not only for his genre, but also for his nation. He is one of the most influential writers from Latin America, especially his home country of Colombia. He inspired other writers and contributed significantly to the "Latin American Boom of literature."

The Green Mile Trailer [HD]
The Green Mile is an example of magical realism in film.