Beginner’s Guide To Magical Realism

It’s a genre depicting the real world under the influence of magical powers or fantasies. However, magical realism is a part of the realism genre of fiction. The world is still our real-world within a work of magical realism, but fantasy elements and superhuman powers are considered normal in this world. Lastly, its mysterious aspect is fascinating, and it is also an ancient genre of storytelling picking up the reader’s interest. Therefore, this article brings you the best eleven books in the magical realism genre.

Magical Realism

#1 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

About the book

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; books on magical realism
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Title: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction

Publisher: Penguin India

Type: Standalone

Pages: 422

Goodreads rating: 4.1/5

It is the epic tale of seven generations of the Buendia family, spanning from the postcolonial 1820s to the 1920s, a hundred years of turbulent Latin American history. First, however, patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendia builds the utopian city of Macondo in the middle of a swamp. At first prosperous, the town attracts Gypsies and hucksters, the old writer Melquíades, a stand-in for the author. Next, a hurricane lasting nearly five years almost destroys the city, and by the fifth Buendía generation, its physical decrepitude is matched by the family’s depravity. Finally, a storm erases all traces of the town.

Why do we recommend this book?

Firstly, with its magical elements, it is fascinating. However, the author’s storytelling ability is splendid and keeps the readers on their toes until the end. The mysterious aspect of the book is gripping, and it is one of the best books in the magical realism genre that you shouldn’t miss out on.

To buy/gift One Hundred Years of Solitude, click on the below link:

#2 Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

About the book

 Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Title: Love in the Time of Cholera

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction

Publisher: Penguin India

Type: Standalone

Pages: 368

Goodreads rating: 3.9/5

The story occurs in a South American community troubled by wars and cholera outbreaks. When Florentino Ariza (Javier Bardem) sees Fermina Daza (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) through a villa window, it is love at first sight. Moreover, though a man of modest means, Florentino’s skill as a poet awakens a similar passion within Fermina. However, Fermina’s father disapproves of the affair and vows to keep the lovers apart. Fermina eventually marries an aristocratic doctor (Benjamin Bratt) and moves to Paris. Florentino, however, still loves Fermina and patiently waits for a chance to be with her again.

Why do we recommend this book?

With the themes of love, aging, and death, it is an attention seeker. Moreover, the boundaries of love and the situations lovers face are drawn so impeccably, and they very well relate to modern lovers. However, with the chances at love, the struggles are shown, and the sacrifices made in the way are depicted in flawless storytelling. Finally, the mystery is the book’s show stopper gripping the reader’s mind.

To buy/gift Love in the Time of Cholera, click on the below link:

#3 Beloved by Toni Morrison

About the book

Beloved by Toni Morrison; books on magical realism
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Title: Beloved

Author: Toni Morrison

Genre: Magical Realism, Historical Fiction

Publisher: RHUK

Type: Standalone

Pages: 352

Goodreads rating: 3.9/5

Its protagonist, Sethe, was born into slavery and escaped to Ohio, but she is still not free eighteen years later. However, Sethe is also a passionately devoted mother who flees with her children from an abusive owner known as a “schoolteacher.” But, she has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where many hideous things happened. However, Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died namelessly and whose tombstone is carved with a single word: Beloved.

Why do we recommend this book?

Firstly, Beloved offers a harrowing look at slavery and its lasting impact. Secondly, the intensely shocking and moving narrative was written in various voices and lengthy fragmentary monologues, sometimes ambiguous, like the character of Beloved herself. However, Morrison’s beautiful language and intense imagery were celebrated in this classic work. A film adaptation starring Oprah Winfrey was released in 1998. Finally, the book also won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, and is one of the best books on magical realism.

To buy/gift Beloved, click on the below link:

#4 Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

About the book

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Title: Midnight’s Children

Author: Salman Rushdie

Genre: Magical Realism, Historical Fiction

Publisher: RHUK

Type: Standalone

Pages: 672

Goodreads rating: 4/5

The story begins with Siani’s family and the various events that led to India’s independence and eventually partitioning. Then, Saleem is born with telepathic powers and later discovers that all the kids are delivered between 12 A. M. and 1 A.M. in India and are impregnated with the unique power born precisely at midnight. Finally, using his telepathic powers, he assembles a conference with all kids to reflect on issues like culture, linguistics, religion, and political differences to shape the nation.

Why do we recommend this book?

It is an enchanting family adventure with lots of human drama and shocking summoning, where mysteries play an essential role. Secondly, the Royal Shakespeare Company adapted the novel as a stage show in 2003. However, with historical fiction combined with magical realism, Rushdie has gripped the reader’s mind. Lastly, the book has also won the Booker Prize.

To buy/gift Midnight’s Children, click on the below link:

#5 Life of Pi by Yann Martel

About the book

Life of Pi by Yann Martel; books on magical realism
Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Title: Life of Pi

Author: Yann Martel

Genre: Magical Realism, Adventure Fiction

Publisher: Mariner Books

Type: Standalone

Pages: 336

Goodreads rating: 3.9/5

The story begins when Santosh and Gita Patel boards a freighter with their sons and a few remaining animals after they decide to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada. Tragedy strikes when a harsh storm sinks the ship; Pi (Suraj Sharma), Patel’s teenage son, is the only human survivor. However, a fearsome Bengal tiger has also found refuge aboard the lifeboat, and Pi is not alone. Finally, with time Pi and the tiger must learn to trust each other if both are to survive.

Why do we recommend this book?

Firstly, the book’s imaginary aspect is terrific as it takes the readers through the wildlife. It also shows the bonding of nature with humans and animals. Furthermore, the struggles of living are depicted very well. Finally, it is one of the best books exploring magical realism with adventures to grip the reader’s attention till the end.

To buy/gift Life of Pi, click on the below link:

#6 Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

About the book

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: Practical Magic

Author: Alice Hoffman

Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction

Publisher: Berkley

Type: Series

Number of Books: 2

Pages: 320

Goodreads rating: 3.8/5

The women of Owens have been blamed for everything wrong in their Massachusetts town for more than two hundred years. However, Sally and Gillian have also endured that fate: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, and pointed at. Moreover, their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery with their musty house and crowd of black cats and exotic concoctions. But all Sally and Gillian wanted was to escape. Finally, one will do so by running away, the other by marrying. However, the bonds they share will bring them back almost as if by magic.

Why do we recommend this book?

With magic at its heart, the book delves deeper into the mysteries of human connections. However, the imaginative power of the reader is put to the test as the chapters go by. With its excellent storytelling ability, the writer portrays the magical elements. Finally, the suspense hooks the reader till the very end, and it is one of the best books on magical realism.

To buy/gift Practical Magic, click on the below link:

#7 The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

About the book

The Rules of Magic by  Alice Hoffman; books on magical realism
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of Magic

Author: Alice Hoffman

Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction

Publisher: Scribner UK

Type: Series

Number of Books: 2

Pages: 384

Goodreads rating: 4/5

In this sparkling prequel of the book Practical Magic by the writer, we meet the Aunts, sisters Jet and Frances, and Vincent, their brother. However, from the beginning, their mother Susanna knows they are unique: Jet shy and beautiful would know what others are thinking; Franny, with her skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, could commune with birds, and Vincent is so charismatic that he was built for trouble. So Susanna needed to set some magic rules: no red shoes, no wearing black, no walking in the moonlight, no cats, no crows, no candles, and no books about magic. So finally, the Owens siblings head down a life-altering course filled with secrets, truths, devastation, joy, magic, and love. Though they are warned by their family that love is a curse for our family, they will all strive to break the rules and find true love.

Why do we recommend this book?

Filled with secrets, truths, devastation, joy, magic, and love, the book explores the depth of the reader’s imagination. Moreover, it astounds the reader with its storytelling ability and creates threads of connections among the characters. Finally, the growth of characters is the most vital point of the book; with magical realism at its core, it is definitely one of the best in its genre.

To buy/gift The Rules of Magic, click on the below link:

#8 The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

About the book

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction

Publisher: William Morrow

Type: Standalone

Pages: 256

Goodreads rating: 4/5

It’s a story of a middle-aged man who returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. However, the house he lived in is no more. Though he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother when he was seven. However, he hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, frightening, and dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a tiny boy.

Why do we recommend this book?

The author has managed to blend mystery and magic flawlessly. However, the character-building steals the show when the protagonist evolves as a stronger individual leaving behind his past to later deal with it again but with a clear point of view. Finally, the suspense aspect is very gripping for the readers.

To buy/gift The Ocean at the End of the Lane, click on the below link:

#9 Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

About the book

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende; books on magical realism
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

Title: Eva Luna

Author: Isabel Allende

Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Ltd

Type: Standalone

Pages: 368

Goodreads rating: 4/5

Eva Luna is a lover, a writer, a revolutionary, and above all, a storyteller. She is the daughter of a professor’s assistant and a snake-bitten gardener – born poor, orphaned early, and working as a servant. However, Eva is naturally gifted and an imaginative storyteller who meets people from all walks of life. Moreover, she has no wealth, but she trades her stories like currency with people who are kind to her. While sharing her stories, she introduces an eccentric cast of characters: the Lebanese emigre who takes her in, her Catholic godmother who believes in saints, a street urchin who grows up to be the leader of the guerrilla struggle, a celebrated trans cabaret star and a young refugee whose flight from postwar Europe will change Eva’s life forever.

Why do we recommend this book?

The writer proves her creativity by using the method of storytelling in the story where she puts into tests the reader’s imagination power. However, with its apparent picture-building ability, the book is fantastic. Finally, the book is a must-read with a blend of adventures, mysteries, and magic.

To buy/gift Eva Luna, click on the below link:

#10 The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

About the book

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Title: The Snow Child

Author: Eowyn Ivey

Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction, Folklore

Publisher: Back Bay Books

Type: Standalone

Pages: 416

Goodreads rating: 4/5

The Snow Child is a story about Jack and Mabel, a childless couple trying to forge a new life in the Alaskan wilderness. However, they moved less than two years after their only child was stillborn. They are homesteaders, clearing land and hoping to farm it to claim the land as their own. Moreover, it’s a harsh and often lonely life. One day, they playfully build a snowgirl, but the following day she is gone. Instead, they catch glimpses of a small blond girl in the trees.

Why do we recommend this book?

Firstly, the book stirs up longing and wistfulness and then plasters them on a dazzling snow-capped pastoral landscape. Secondly, the writer used magical realism and folklore to tell stories about hope, grief, loss, family, fairytales, and survival. Moreover, Ivey explores many themes, such as the futility of struggling against one’s nature, family and friendship bonds, and fairytales’ purpose. Finally, it explores human dependency on each other.

To buy/gift The Snow Child, click on the below link:

#11 Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

About the book

 Bone Gap by Laura Ruby; books on magical realism
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Title: Bone Gap

Author: Laura Ruby

Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Type: Standalone

Pages: 368

Goodreads rating: 3.8/5

The story begins with two brothers, Finn O’Sullivan and Sean, who live with a beautiful girl named Roza in a strange little town called Bone Gap. However, Roza mysteriously disappears one day, and the entire town believes it was with her consent. Only Finn knows the truth: Roza didn’t leave; she was kidnapped.

Why do we recommend this book?

Bone Gap is a book about perspective and the difference between looking and seeing. About fairytales, self-image, the heavy burden that beauty can be, and the pernicious ways we look at and treat women. However, it’s awfully tense, and the feeling of anxious momentum runs through this novel. Yet, it’s also very romantic where it matters, empowering where it counts, and beautiful in its telling. Finally, it is one of the best books on magical realism.

To buy/gift Bone Gap, click on the below link:

Finally, that’s all for the recommendations. These magical realism books have given me immense joy, providing detailed descriptions of supernatural elements. They captivated my imagination power wonderfully. Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and I hope you do so. So, give these books a try, as they’re worth your time.

That’s all for the recommendations for books on magical realism.

P.S: Some books recommended here are available on Kindle Unlimited. If you have subscribed to it, you can read these books. Check out this article: Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?

To conclude, here are the 11 Best books on magical realism.

1 OneOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia MarquezBuy Now
2 Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Buy Now
3Beloved by Toni MorrisonBuy Now
4Midnight’s Children by Salman RushdieBuy Now
5Life of Pi by Yann MartelBuy Now
6Practical Magic by Alice HoffmanBuy Now
7The Rules of Magic by Alice HoffmanBuy Now
8The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanBuy Now
9Eva Luna by Isabel AllendeBuy Now
10The Snow Child by Eowyn IveyBuy Now
11Bone Gap by Laura RubyBuy Now
11 Best books on magical realism

Read every book on this list. I am sure it won’t disappoint you.

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