Thursday, December 14, 2023

Five of the best books to capture the magic of magical realism

Lois Parkinson Zamora is a leader in the comparative study of literature of the Americas. Her books include The Inordinate Eye: New World Baroque and Latin American Fiction (2006), a comparative study of New World Baroque art, architecture and literature, and Writing the Apocalypse (1989) and The Usable Past (1997), both of which examine the nature of historical imagination and its representations in contemporary U.S. and Latin American fiction.

She is co-editor of Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community (1995).

At Shepherd she tagged five of the best books from Latin America to capture the magic of magical realism, including:
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

This novel is a great way to start enjoying magical realism. It’s about a family—a hard-boiled mother and her three daughters who live on a ranch in northern Mexico during the Mexican Revolution.

The youngest daughter, named Tita, is told that it is an unalterable family tradition for the youngest daughter not to marry but to stay home and take care of her mother. Tita obeys but with very interesting (and magical) consequences.

Food is the source of much of the magic in this novel, and if you love cooking and eating, you’ll love this magic! And because the story is set during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917), revolutionary soldiers gallop through the ranch with magical and sometimes disastrous results.

I loved this novel because it combines politics and history, as well as romance and humor.
Read about another entry on the list.

Like Water for Chocolate is among Lindsay Eagar's eight fantasy tales about the joys of bread & baking and Alexandra Silverman's six top foodie novels from around the world.

--Marshal Zeringue