Armchair BEA: Genre Fiction (Magical Realism)

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Genre Fiction

What draws you to a specific genre?
I’m an eclectic reader, so I’ll focus on my favorite genre: Magical Realism.

Magical realism is a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment. The term is broadly descriptive rather than critically rigorous: Professor Matthew Strecher defines magic realism as “what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe.” (Wikipedia)

Since you don’t completely deviate from reality, the fantastical elements often sneak up on you. Talking animals, a cupcake that causes a person to speak his/her heart, two moons in the sky… you can read and read without ever feeling like you’ve left reality. I love the subtle form of escape this genre offers, although when I read descriptions of books in this genre, they always sound pretty out there – not subtle at all!

My favorite authors/books in this genre:

Haruki Murakami – The Elephant Vanishes
(short stories, blends with surrealism)

(also blends with surrealism)
Sarah Addison AllenGarden Spells
(Allen is great starting point for those new to this genre)
These three authors have never disappointed; I’ve loved everything they’ve written!
  • I can’t believe how many genres there really are. I haven’t heard of this one before! It’s great to learn something new, so thanks for sharing 😀

    Development + Fiction – Mel@thedailyprophecy.

    • You’re very welcome! It’s a great genre. 🙂

  • I’ve never heard of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but it sounds like my cup of tea! I’ll have to try and get it at a second-hand book store or Chapter’s.

    • Definitely do, you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

  • Gah! I wish I’d remembered to add Garden Spells to my post today. I did include The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, though. I <3 that book so hard!

    Great post!

    • I know, it’s amazing!!

  • You might enjoy The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski. It is set in 1950’s New Orleans and many would categorize it as magical realism.
    Kerri @ Turn the Page Reviews

    • Thanks Kerri, I haven’t read that one!

  • You already know I’m a fan of Murakami. I’ve never read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but I love all the Sarah Addison Allen books I’ve read. Garden Spells is my favorite. Can’t wait to give the Aimee Bender one a try.

    • Yes!! Do it!! Bender’s “Willful Creatures” is wonderful, too. (Short stories)

  • Such a wonderful genre. I will have to check out “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake”.

    My Genre @ Lindsey Gray

    • It’s a pretty amazing book. Gets pretty odd in places, but it’s just incredible. I love Aimee Bender’s writing style.

  • I love magical realism! My main exposure to magical realism has been through Isabel Allende’s works, like The House of the Spirits. I recently read The Night Circus and thought it fit the genre too.

    Daniela @ The Cozy Armchair

    • I have yet to read Allende’s writing, I must do that. The Night Circus is on my to-read list. I’ve heard so many great things about it!

  • Awesome post! I’ve seen a lot of good things about The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, I definitely need to add it to my TBR! I will have to check more Magical Realism out, it sounds like a genre I’d really like!

    my armchair BEA post

  • Oh, I love magical realism so very much! I really need to read Lemon Cake, don’t I? I’ve heard so many great things. Somewhat related (though I think it will edge more fantasy), you might want to take a peek at Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler on NetGalley. I just started it, but it’s a good one so far.

    • Ohhhh awesome, thanks for the recommendation!! I have a mixture of love and disdain for you for adding to my TBR pile yet again. 😉 (you know I’m teasing!) <3

  • I haven’t heard of any of the titles you mentioned above but I have read The Night Circus like a commenter mentioned. I really enjoyed it! The writing was beautiful!

    • I seriously can’t think of one bad thing I’ve read about that book! 🙂

  • I haven’t read a lot of Magical Realism type novels. I think I might try to find one to read this year, thanks for the recommendations!

  • It might sound weird but I don’t pay much attention to genre. I just read what I read. I mean, I know what I like but I don’t think about it in terms of genre really. I guess? I’m babbling, lol.

    • That totally makes sense. I don’t think I even realized it as a genre until I came across a mention of it that included a bunch of my favorite books/authors. LOL

  • I really enjoy Magical Realism as well but don’t tend to seek it out (or any kind of genre fiction…not entirely sure what genre fiction is exactly!). My favorite is probably Midnight’s Children by Rushdie but I also loved The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. I keep meaning to read more of her works. So far this is the second mention of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake I’ve seen today (for different reasons). I recently passed it up at a book sale and now wish I hadn’t!

    • I’m still learning about all these genres. I’m like you, I don’t tend to seek out books based on genre. I’m not sure magical realism is even a nice, neat genre, either… so many times it blends into other categories. Ehhh. I just want to READ! hehe

  • i never heard of this genre before, that’s pretty cool! 😀

    Leanne @ Escaping With Books

  • I have heard of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but I guess I had no idea what it was really about! Sounds great!