4 Magical Realism Books for Literary Book Lovers

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.

Time Travel Books

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.

Books With Weird Apocalyptic Events

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?


// Comments //

  1. Nish

    Sep 13

    This reminds me that I need to get to The Ocean at the end of the lane. I’ve always meant to read it but it somehow keeps getting pushed back in my TBR queue.

  2. I typically like my books chock full of the weird, but magical realism is fun too. I’m especially delighted when a book I thought was contemporary ends up having a magical twist.

  3. Resh Susan

    Sep 09

    I love a bit of magic in stories. Magical realism is my favourite genre. Great list here.