One Hundred Years Of Solitude

Considered to be the seminal magical realist novel,it was written by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the sixties. It documents the lives of the Buendia family who start a community in the South American jungle. Its development, exploitation and ultimate failure to survive mirror the trials and traumas of Latin America in general. Needless to say, it contains many supernatural elements which refuse to align themelves with either purely fantastical or purely realist ways of seeing things. Hence the somewhat confusing term 'magical realism'. People have loads of different theories about why magical realism emerged as a genre, but by far the best is the idea of a clash of cultures (and therefore perspectives on reality) producing two different mindsets that fail to hierarchy themselves.

Some general websites on One Hundred Years (Spanish Cien anos de soledad) and magical realism:

My Ph D has been using magical realism as a tool with which to interpret Ovid's METAMORPHOSES, and I gave a paper on aspects of magical realism in both texts which can be found at:

Many poeple have said that magical realism is indistinguishable from science fiction, fantasy and surrealist writing. I think they are wrong to assert this, but it is useful to highlight the similarities between these genres. Magical realism is a far more political mode of writing.

I have argued in the past (see numerous OUSFG talks) that SF is the most inherently political of all literary genres, but I agree the point would certainly stand with regard to fantasy and surrealism, which are generally harder to distinguish, by purely superficial analysis, from Magic Realism. --MF

I'd be interested to read /hear these talks if you've kept a text or recording of them. I'm not an expert on SF, but certainly magical realism is an extremely political literary genre - the magic intrusions into "reality" in these texts represent the subversive elements and minority groups of society fighting against the dominant cultural codes. At least, that's what my thesis argues anyway... A lot of Fantasy seems more gratuitously magical. I can see a case for SF being more political though - Lorna.

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