A Quintet of Literary Genius: North American Women and the Magic Realism Wagon

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I grew up relating magic realism to Gabriel Garcia Marquez alone. Little did I know that a mounting number of women in Europe, Asia, and American continents were jumping on the magic realism wagon. But since this article aims to single out North American authors, my list is focused on women authors from North America.

Magic realism as an approach to fiction writing capitalizes on the seamless incorporation of the unreal to the real. Meaning, an author who utilizes the approach uses some fantasy element in the narrative without a hint of intervention on the accepted reality of the reader.

Below is a list of my top five magic realism women authors from North America. These women have creativity unique to them that baffle language and cultural barriers.

1.) Alice Hoffman (U.S.A). With 20 language translations and 100 foreign editions attached to all her works, Alice Hoffman is perhaps the most well known among her contemporaries. Under Hoffman's belt are quite a number of works of fiction: 8 books for children and young adults, 21 novels, and 3 books of short fiction. Of all her works, "The Red Garden" and "The River King," are my favorites. These two are not just brilliant examples of magic realism at work; they also exemplify the art of common talk. They are the kind of literary works, which benefit from the use of ordinary people, language, and life events crafted creatively in a memorable and striking way.

2.) Eden "Victoria Lena" Robinson (Canada). Eden Robinson demonstrates the depth of her grasp of magic realism in her second book "Monkey Beach." In the novel, Robinson mixes mysticism with current Haisla issues in the most natural manner. Haisla people are Native Americans inhabiting Kitamaat, British Columbia in Canada. Robinson is one of the few aboriginal women authors in North America. Aside from "Monkey Beach," she has also written other works of art like "Trapline," "Terminal Avenue," and "Blood Sports." "Monkey Beach" received the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2001, a year after its publication.

3.) Laura Esquivel (Mexico). I am a fan of Laura Esquivel's "Like Water for Chocolate." Esquivel may not have the most number of books or awards, but she has an unparalleled approach in writing: mystically and deliciously hilarious. "Like Water for Chocolate" was so unique, that in 1994, it was made into an award-studded film. Esquivel seamlessly webs her cookbook approach to the culinary- filled mystic relationship central to the novel. Aside from this, she hilariously conveys the bizarre element of the novel all throughout its narrative. Readers will be so entertained that some unusual claims in the novel will go unnoticed. Esquivel is also the author of "Law of Love," and "Between Two Fires."

4.) Rae Bryant (U.S.A). Rae Bryant is one of the latest additions to the group of North American women who are into magic realism. Her "Fifty Years in Halves" published in 2010 has an approach that resembles Esquivel's minus the hilarious passages popping up in "Like Water for Chocolate." Bryant's approach is skillfully serious in tone and postfeminist in nature. Majority of her works are also short story rather than novel.

5.) Amanda Filipacchi (U.S.A). If Bryant has Esquivel's food angle, Amanda Filipacchi has her hilarity. Her novel "Nude Men" has been translated to 13 languages. Her other two novels "Vapor" and "Love Creeps" were also critically acclaimed by a majority of literary geniuses, critics, and readers. Filipacchi's approach is considered the best in comic intensity that presently, "Love Creeps" is a subject of study in Columbia University's graduate school.

Magic realism, for the most part, was dominated by male authors since its inception in 1925. For that, the growing number of women who are outstanding in their utilization of the genre, thereby making names in the field, is a breath of fresh air. I hope that they serve as an inspiration for the young girls worldwide who want to embrace magic realism in the future.

 

Sources:

"Alice Hoffman: Bio." Accessed April 25, 2012. http://alicehoffman.com/

"Amanda Filipacchi: Bio." Accessed April 25, 2012. http://www.amandafilipacchi.com/

Bio. "People: Laura Esquivel." Accessed April 25, 2012. http://www.biography.com/people/laura-esquivel-185854

O'Neal, Stafford. 2006. "Profile of Eden Robinson: The Hermit and the Ham." First Nations Drum, December issue. Accessed April 25, 2012. http://firstnationsdrum.com/2006/12/profile-of-eden-robinson-the-hermit-and-the-ham/

"Rae Bryant: About." Accessed april 25, 2012. http://www.raebryant.com/about-2/

 

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