Let’s get real … or maybe not. We’ve already shared 6 Awesome Gateway Books Into Magical Realism but wanted to point out a few more for those of you who like “literary fiction” like …
Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
A sad but beautiful book. Having the same life over and over again can be a joyless endeavor – which is not how I saw it prior to reading this book. The writing is astonishingly good, and the audiobook, narrated by Fenella Woolgar, is amazing. It truly blends the magical and the real – and made me think what I would do … could do .. if it was happening to me.
The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker
Again, I listened to the audiobook (narrated by Emily Janice Card). The narrator did a pretty good job, but I thought she read very slowly, and the book itself is about a slowing … all this slowness sometimes left me a bit bored & weary.
This is both a book about changes happening DURING a major apocalyptic event & also a regular coming of age of an 11 year-old girl during this period – told as a retrospective look back by the now grown up (23 I think) Julia – but she sure has some very adult insights that just didn’t seem like she could have gleaned. I just didn’t buy that this was an 11 year old girl talking.
I did love the buildup that Walker managed, talking about the day by day changes that happened as the days and nights got longer – the grass dying, the plants, the birds … the World’s food crop failing, “gravity” sickness. I was really curious with every chapter, about what change would occur to the planet and the people next.
And I liked the contrast between such a huge Earth changing event happening, and still looking at all the seemingly “mundane” things that Julia, as an 11 year-old still thought about – boys, friends, loneliness. It was a good reminder that while big, dramatic things are happening, we still have to live and attend to our lives & emotions.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
Let’s get this out the way – I’m a big Neil Gaiman fan. While this is not my favorite of his works, it’s beautifully written and well imagined. It’s a slow, quiet story that unveils as a man returns to his childhood home and starts remembering one summer in particular that seemed full of magical experiences.
So tell me how do you like your stories – real with a small dose of magic – like magical realism; full-on contemporary, or chock full of the weird?