Hot Topic Tuesday: Real? Or Imaginary?


Here at The Contemps, we're all about keeping it real, as you know. We believe that real fiction helps readers through real ups and downs in life. 

But what of that nebulous class of fiction known as "magical realism?" I'll admit, though I had a sense of the type of story that fell into that category, I didn't have a working definition of the term. My good friend Wikipedia tells me:  "magical realism in literature has been defined as a kind of modern fiction in which fabulous and fantastical events are included in a narrative that otherwise maintains the 'reliable' tone of objective realistic report." (See? Realistic! That's the magic -- no pun intended -- word!) Magical occurrences in these stories are presented by the narrator as ordinary occurrences; the reader, therefore, accepts the marvelous as normal and common. 

But why am I babbling about this today? Because today, one of my very favorite magical-realism-tinged contemp novels, Nova Ren Suma's IMAGINARY GIRLS, releases! Woo hoo! Happy release day, Nova! 

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.

“A sexy, surreal, and touching exploration of the outer limits of sisterly love’s power.… This glittering puzzle box of a story about the exertion of one girl’s will over life and death is as moving as it is creepy.”Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

If that cover, that description, or that love letter of a review haven't piqued your curiosity, how about the book trailer? 
So what do you say, readers? If you've been lucky enough to snag an early copy of IMAGINARY GIRLS, did it strike you as contemp, supernatural, or somewhere in between? If you've read magical realism, what struck you as the differences between that genre, and proper fantasy or paranormal? In what ways does magical realism enhance reality even as it deviates from it? Inquiring minds want to know!

And in the meantime, join me in celebrating Nova's spectacular release!

5 comments:

We Heart YA said...

From what we understand, one difference between magical realism and fantasy/paranormal is that in magical realism, the "strange" things that happen aren't really strange. They are just a part of this world, albeit a quirky part. Like in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's story about two boys who "drown" in light after they turn on every switch in the house. No one questions how or why this happened; it was a part of the world. Of OUR world. Whereas in paranormal, strange things are considered properly strange (vampires and werewolves and faeries, oh my!) and in fantasy, things are taking place in another world (even if that world is a version of this world).

Yes, it's a pretty slippery slope... But we love sliding all over it!

And we are super excited about IMAGINARY GIRLS! We've been waiting on this one for a while now.

Micol Ostow said...

Yes, that was my understanding as well, which is why I first thought of Nova's book for The Contemps...it was only after a moment of reflection that I realized/remembered that so much of the plot hinges on that acceptance of the surreal.

Melissa Sarno said...

I always think of Mary Poppins as a good example of magical realism, but I'm still trying to figure it out in books too. The cover of this book is so beautiful and the description has me hooked. I will definitely check it out.

Shari Green said...

I can hardly wait to read this! I love magical realism (and I agree, it's about the "magical" being accepted as part of the real world). :)

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)
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