Sunday, April 7, 2013

"… getting magical realism all over your hands"

"[...] Calling Couto’s novels 'magical realist,' though, accomplishes very little. At this point, the term is little more than a marketing phrase that publishers and critics use to indicate some kind of broadly construed tropical exoticism. Surrealism sought to challenge the very basis of enlightenment thinking — denying that 'reality' was even real — while fantasy just ignores the whole question and makes up its own reality. Magical realism, popularly conceived, evokes the dream of a place where the West’s rational order might break down without actually contradicting our daytime reality after the last page of the dream is turned. It is the Eat, Pray, Love of literature: an escapist interlude into pleasurable exception, a vacation from the workaday reality of serious literary fiction."
— Aaron Bady, The New Inquiry
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