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Magic in the Everyday World

Magical Realism

For today’s column on writing and reading LGBT Fantasy, I thought I’d go in a little bit different direction.

Most of our previous discussions have focused on high fantasy – elves and dwarves in the tradition of Tolkien or epic fantasies like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, or the idea of Faery and its interaction with the real world.

But what about stories that dip their toes into the fantasy pool, but in a more subtle way?

These stories are often called “magical realism”, and can involve a touch of the supernatural, the unexplained, or simply something a little outside our normal experience of reality.

One of my favorite stories in this mode is the oft-mentioned “Larque on the Wing” by Nancy Springer, the story of a housewife who learns that she has the spirit of a gay man inside of her. The magical realism in the story is invoked when that spirit is brought from the inside out, and she lives as a gay man for a while, experiencing life on the other side.

I’ve explored magical realism in a couple of my own short stories, including the just published “The Bear at the Bar”, a kind of freaky Friday story where a gym bunny changes places with the bear for a day. I also poked at it in another story, involving a medallion that lets the bearer hear the truth of what people are really saying.

So my questions for today – as a writer, have you ever written any pieces invoking magical realism? And as a reader, what are some of your favorite stories that use this fancy tool?

1 thought on “Magic in the Everyday World”

  1. I haven’t had a chance to write a story with magical realism yet, though I do love stories that incorporate it. I think Joanne Harris’s “Chocolat” and the sequel “The Lollipop Shoes” are a wonderful example of magical realism (though they don’t have gay characters), where the main character definitely is in touch with magical forces in the mundane world.

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