Snippets of Magic Realism
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I've just read a sentence that is such a concise peek into what's wonderful, delicious, and simple about Magic Realism as practiced by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His autobiography Living to Tell the Tale is written as though it were a first-person novel, with all the joy of his way of seeing things. He's on a journey (at age 21) with his mother back to his family's home town that had been made prosperous by the banana magnates. But political upheavals chased the 'gringos' and the prosperity away; since then, rumors always came up about the possibility of the gringos coming back. Picture a lush, humming economy that quickly diminished to dusty almond trees, dilapidated wooden houses with rusting tin roofs and the observation many years later that
"The gringos are never coming back." The only certainty was that they took everything with them: money, December breezes, the bread knife, thunder at three in the afternoon, the scent of jasmines, love.
The mix of the ludicrous with the practical, to me, is such a perfect example of the delicacy of his touch. Obviously they couldn't take the breeze or the thunder that crashed daily at three to wake them from siesta, but throw in the mundane bread knife and you just have to smile, don't you? I just had to share my love for this.
Another odd book I read that is filled with exactly what you said about looking at an ordinary thing and seeing the magic in it is Brooks Hansen The Chess Garden. I think I may be ready to even read it again. It made me think about things I take for granted differently while wrapping a good story in bits of fairy tale images. It's very different from his other books--this is the only one I recommend--I think he might have had a co-author now that I think of it.
Happy Mother's Day to you too!