MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism
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31 July 2006
MR OVER THE WEEKEND + COMMENTARY: Is there room for children's perspectives and science fiction tropes in magical realism?
Topic: July 2006
[ed. note for 8.05.06: not sure why this entry doesn't seem to show up as the most current, but I'm hoping it'll at least show up in the July 2006 listings.]


Ever heard of a "hungry ghost?" If your answer is yes, it's likely you've got connections with Taoism. The Hungry Ghost Festival is widely observed by Chinese throughout Asia, and it has a tremendous effect on daily life at the time it's celebrated. From an article in Reuters/India: "It's the time of the year many Chinese businesses dread—the hungry ghost festival, when families avoid moving house, couples postpone their wedding plans, and tourists shy away from beach resorts."


[07.31.06]—Spotted on the Independent's top 50 hottest summer reads: at #37—The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. "Hugely influential feminist retellings of classic fairy tales like Bluebeard and Mr Fox, reissued along with other key Carter works. Sharp, brilliant and thought-provoking stories from the much-missed doyenne of British magical realism." Carter is one brilliant die-hard magical realist! You go, girl, wherever you are!

[07.30.06]—Folks in the Pleasant Hill, CA environs recently discussed the magical realist accents in the novel, Maybe a Miracle by Brian Strause at Orinda Books as part of the Contra-Costa Times book club led by Lynn Carey. Read their findings here.

[07.27.06]—This New Yorker discussion of African author Ngugi wa Thiong’o by John Updike is not to be missed.

[07.23.06]—Two titles by Will Clarke discussed by Liesl Schillinger in The New York Times deserve some scrutiny by those inclined to connect dots between magical realism and madness: Lord Vishnu's Love Handles: A Spy Novel (Sort Of) and The Worthy: A Ghost's Story, both published by Simon & Schuster.


[07.31.06]—Praying Mantis by Andre Brink—Writes Laurence Phelan for The Independent—"[Protagonist Cupido Cockroach] wasn't born in the usual way, but 'hatched from the stories his mother told.' One of these had it that an eagle dropped him in her lap, another that a phantom stranger delivered him in a dream."

[07.30.06]—The Keep by Jennifer Egan—Writes Madison Smartt Bell for The New York Times—"Jennifer Egan is a refreshingly unclassifiable novelist; she deploys most of the arsenal developed by the metafiction writers of the 1960s and refined by more recent authors like William T. Vollmann and David Foster Wallace—but she can’t exactly be counted as one of them. The opening of her new novel, The Keep, lays out a whole Escherian architecture, replete with metafictional trapdoors, pitfalls, infinitely receding reflections and trompe l’oeil effects, but what’s more immediately striking about this book is its unusually vivid and convincing realism." Perhaps not magical realism, but metafictionally ancillary?

[07.30.06]—Sleepwalking Land by Mia Couto, tr. David Brookshaw—Writes Uzodinma Iweala for The New York Times—"War in Africa is hardly a new phenomenon, nor are voices telling its stories of terror and triumph. Yet some of the continent’s most devastating conflicts—and the literature born from the experiences of their survivors—have often gone unnoticed in the West. The Mozambican writer Mia Couto’s 1992 novel Sleepwalking Land, newly translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw, helps correct this oversight by telling of his country’s 16 years of brutal civil war, using magic realism to turn its harsh reality into an exceptionally beautiful nightmare."

[07.29.06]—The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo—Writes Jenny Sawyer for The Christian Science Monitor—"…[T]his isn't a story about a girl who loved a china rabbit. It's a story about a china rabbit who learned to love a little girl—and not just a little girl, but a sailor and his wife, a hobo and his dog, a sickly child, a homeless boy. Royalty and riff-raff alike—but especially the riff-raff."

[07.29.06]—Madonna from Russia by Yuri Druzhnikov, tr. Thomas Moore—Writes Tibor Fischer for Guardian Unlimited—"The writing is at times reminiscent of Solzhenitsyn—indeed, he has a guest role—but Druzhnikov has a lot more humour (well, he missed the gulag) and even offers a whiff of magical realism."


This past weekend, I had the amazing experience of viewing the Spanish film, Spirit of the Beehive [here's a link to a discussion of the film by blogger Campaspe for Self-Styled Siren]. In a nutshell, the film is about a little girl in post-Franco Spain who, after viewing the Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein, decides to try to invoke his "spirit" (a ritual as described to her by her naughty older sister) in an attempt to learn why both the little girl and the monster in the movie were killed.

Oh, what a beautiful film! And the music was perfectly evocative, capturing the oddity of living as a child without supervision in a landscape so vast and remote and yet so close to the vest of the Franco regime. The subtlety of this film is its greatest strength.

One of the reasons I chose to watch this film? One of Margin's readers asked us to include it as a title on our film list. Having not seen the film previously, I did a little research and decided that it could be, at least peripherally, considered magical realist in its form (theoretically). Having seen the film now, I think I'm a bit more on the fence for a couple of reasons.

First: The key "magical realist" scene involves an interaction between the child protagonist Ana and Frankenstein. This lingering between worlds—of childhood imaginings and harsh reality, along with the possible and the impossible—seems to suggest a solid planting in the magical realist œuvre.

But then I pull back. When are stories told from a child's point of view simply imaginary (fantastic) and when are they truly magical realist? Magical realism is rooted in the real, after all. Part of the answer to this inquiry relies upon our perception of the character in question. In the case of Beehive, the child is a gullible 8-year-old (who ends up being not so gullible after her big sister fakes her own death—Ana is then once bitten, twice shy, I'll wager—but, still…) Did little Ana really see Frankenstein (another way of putting it: Was that really Frankenstein?), or did she only want to see Frankenstein?

More to the point: As an adult watching this film, does it even matter what I think? I was sympathetic with Ana (who wouldn't be, her beautiful dark eyes had me from the first), but I think she only wanted to see the monster in order to make things right in her own mind. In a way, her actions rewrote Shelley's version of the story as a way to resolve unanswered questions within herself.

Second: Is there room for science fiction tropes in magical realism? When we first placed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein on our recommended reading list, I had second thoughts. Should we really strive to function more on an Either/Or basis with this list? Should work be only magical realist, or should it include works that are only partically magical realist? Should it include authors whose bibliographies are not exclusively magical realist?

Except that so much of magical realism shares rent with other imaginary forms, like surrealism (Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz) or parable (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho) or speculative writing (Blindness by Jose Saramago).

Should one draw a line, and if so, where?

So we included Frankenstein because, while it exists as a commentary on the horrors of science-gone-bad, it's also a story about common people set in a realistic world in which something extraordinary occurs. (And Margin is nothing if not a place to debate, for we don't have the answers any more than anyone else does.)

And think about it: the mundane way in which a pseudo-man is pieced together by a zealous scientist can't be altogether different, after all, than Melquiades' lessons in turning lead into gold in One Hundred Years of Solitude, can it? What about the engineering of ice in the same novel? That "miracle" had sociological repercussions as well.

Let me know what you think.

Posted by at 10:18 AM PDT
Updated: 4 August 2006 8:12 AM PDT
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28 July 2006
Topic: July 2006

Who says the world isn't full of surprising things?

Strange Fish Found on Beach Near Seaside
The extremely rare fish's name stems from Indian lore when it was believed that the King of the Salmon led the smaller species back to the rivers to spawn.

…Also on our freak-o-meter near Greensboro, North Carolina: Slithery Creature Prompts Speculation
Ooooh, I just love to hear about intersections between real life and cryptozoology, especially when they're reported on in the local paper.


[07.27.06]—One Hundred Years of Solitude as a revue? Musical theater writers Allan and Peggy Epstein of Kansas City, MO gave it a shot. As collaborators for a new musical revue, “Bindings,” which premieres tonight at 9:30 p.m. as an hour-long opener to this weekend’s Fringe Festival in the city. Their musical was inspired by 17 of the books immortalized on the 10th Street section of the KC Central Library parking garage wall. When they discovered how difficult it would be to translate Gabo's magical-realist epic directly from its circuitous plot, they switched gears and focused on the essence of Garcia Marquez’s writing style with hopes of capturing his sense of the extraordinary in a musical format. [Too bad Frank Zappa wasn't around. He could've added a lot to that project.] Read more about the fringe fest here

[07.25.06]—In the blog, Tales from the Reading Room, an interesting discussion has started about slipstream writing, which we've already discussed at Margin here. Join this debate and add your comment


[07.24.06]—Indian author Namita Gokhale chimes in about the origins of magical realism in Indian fiction in the Indian Express Newspapers this week. "I feel every language has its own distinct literary traditions—the idea of many languages, one literature, is so true in case of India. Every mother tongue has its own colloquialisms attached and its own sensitivities—take Rushdie for instance. The so-talked about magic realism in his works is actually a tradition borrowed from Urdu literature." Read and comment

[07.22.06]—While Guardians of the Key by Clio Gray is considered an historical novel, Scottish Booktrust organizer Jan Rutherford insists it's much more than that in a recent Scotsman article by David Robinson: "Clio has incredible flair for atmosphere, imagery, setting and description. There is a strangeness and originality about her work—halfway between historical fiction and magic realism—that absorbed me throughout the mentoring process." Read and comment


[07.26.06]—You can vote for Gabriel Garcia Marquez as the most influential Latino for 2006 at the Vivirlatino website.


[07.28.06]—Remapping Reality by John A. McCarthy (Rodopi: February 2006)—From the publisher's synopsis: This book is about intersections among science, philosophy, and literature. It bridges the gap between the traditional “cultures” of science and the humanities by constituting an area of interaction that some have called a 'third culture.' " Expensive ($90 at, but probably useful for graduate courses.

[07.28.06]—Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists by Frederick Luis Aldama (University of Texas Press: March 2006)—From the synopsis: "Since the 1980s, a prolific 'second wave' of Chicano/a writers and artists has tremendously expanded the range of genres and subject matter in Chicano/a literature and art. Building on the pioneering work of their predecessors, whose artistic creations were often tied to political activism and the civil rights struggle, today's Chicano/a writers and artists feel free to focus as much on the aesthetic quality of their work as on its social content." This is sure to be a useful book for breaking down the walls of misperception about today's Mexican authors; Aldama's Postethnic Narrative Criticism was previously and favorably reviewed at Margin.

[07.28.06]—On the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance bestsellers list for the week ended July 23: FOR TRADE PAPERBACK FICTION: #2, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead); #5, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin); #7, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin); #11, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Penguin); #12, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Harvest), #13, Saturday by Ian McEwan (Anchor), #15, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage).


[07.25.06]—Karma—Writes Jigme Ugen for—"Credited with no fewer than three hats on this project (original story, producer and director), Tsering Rhitar Sherpa cleverly mixes magic realism with a certain fairytale sensibility, which has been the hallmark of his career." A recent pre-release of the Tibetan film in St. Paul, MN brought more than 300 locals out even in 102? heat.


YOU MAY NOTICE: We'll be experimenting with the format and frequency of this newsblog over the next few weeks. Let us know if something works well or doesn't work at all. We're here to serve you.

ESPECIALLY FOR WRITERS: Our reading period is closed, and all submissions have been processed. If you have not heard from us and you have a submissions that remains outstanding, chances are good it was lost in the mail. You can always check with us; we have sent you a reply, which could have been lost in the mail.

GET PINGED! If you are set up to read web feeds, simply Margin's MAGICAL REALISM NEWS RSS feed to your reader using your web reader's tools. You'll receive automated feeds whenever we update the Magical Realism Newsblog. If you haven't moved into the world of RSS, don't despair. It's easier than it looks. RSS means "really simple syndication." To download a freeware RSS web reader (which allows you to "get pinged"—that is, receive automatic updates of new content posted at all your favorite blogs), we recommend Active Web Reader 2.4. Set up is easy and the feed reader is customizable.

GENTLE REMINDER: Margin's staff is on hiatus through mid-October 2006. Any e-mail we receive during this time will receive replies as necessary, but there may be delays due to pool parties, novel revision, rib festivals or stargazing.

Posted by at 3:42 PM PDT
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26 July 2006
Hump Day bonus: MR in YA titles which address child abuse and/or mental illness
Topic: July 2006
I received an inquiry from a high-school teacher researching a reading list of novels of magical realism which approach, as a subject or theme, "mental or physical handicaps, child abuse physical or mental or abuse in terms of forcing children into unlawful labor-sweatshops, etc."

Well, it's hard for me to say how appropriate some of these titles are, but YA seems to be getting more sophisticated all the time. Walter Mosley's recent 47 was quite disturbing in its beginning (and necessarily so, but I wonder, as a parent, if it's a little too traumatic?).

At any rate, here's the list I came up with. Let me know what you think: do you have other titles to add, would you argue some aren't well suited for the teacher's request?

47 - Walter Mosley
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
The Bone People - Keri Hulme
The Book of Everything - Guus Kuijer
Daddy's Girls - Suzanne Gold
Geek Love - Katherine Dunn
Heart of the Order - Tony Ardizzone
Holes - Louis Sachar
Is Anybody Listening? - Larry O'Loughlin
Love in the Asylum - Lisa Carey
Midnight Robber - Nalo Hopkinson
Noor - Sorayya Khan
The Obscene Bird of Night - Jose Donoso
Only Twice I've Wished For Heaven - Dawn Turner Trice
Sights - Suzanna Vance
Strand of a Thousand Pearls: A Novel - Dorit Rabinyan
Swan - Gudbergur Bergsson
The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass
Woman at the Edge of Time - Marge Piercy
You Don't Know Me - David Klass
And what about these for supporting literature?

[anthology] The Armless Maiden, and Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors - Terri Windling, ed.
[graphic novel] Blankets - Craig Thompson
[biopic] - An Angel at my Table - Janet Frame's œuvre is a perfect blend of magical realism defined by a life shaped by child abuse and mental illness

Posted by at 10:29 AM PDT
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25 July 2006
joining technorati
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24 July 2006
MR OVER THE WEEKEND + COMMENTARY: Will 'Lost' be Lost in 2006?
Topic: July 2006

[07.21.06]—Margin contributor Zelda Leah Gatuskin (aka Zelda Gordon) became co-owner and Managing Editor for Amador Publishers LLC of Albuquerque, NM in July. An artist, writer and editor, Zelda has assisted in one capacity or another with numerous Amador projects. Her first book The Time Dancer, A Novel of Gypsy Magic was published by Amador in 1991, to be followed by the mixed genre collection, Ancestral Notes (as featured in Margin) and two other titles.

The reorganization coincides with Amador’s twentieth anniversary year. Amador Publishers describes itself as, “a humanist press dedicated to peace, equality, respect for all cultures and preservation of the Biosphere, specializing in fiction and biography of unique worth and appeal, outside the purview of mainstream publishing.” Amador books are available in Albuquerque at the Art Is OK Gallery, The Collector’s Item, Page One, and Borders Books on the west side as well as local libraries. They may also be ordered directly from the publisher (505-877-4395), from the publisher’s web site and from other on-line book vendors. Retailers can order Amador books through Books West in Boulder.


[07.22.06]—Magical realist authors Ursula Hegi [The Vision of Emma Blau], Randall Kenan [Let The Dead Bury Their Dead] and Helena Maria Viramontes [The Moths and Other Stories] will be among the faculty slated for Bread Loaf 2006, which runs from August 16th to the 27th in Middlebury, VT.


[07.22.06]—Here's an interesting take on all the M. Night Shyamalan bashing that's gone on over the last week or so in conjunction with the release of Lady in the Water. Editor's note: I haven't seen the film, so I won't be join this fray just yet.


Whether you think of the popular television series, Lost, as a kind of magical realism is irrelevant here. It started out that way, exploring improbability through the use of miracles (survivors of a plane crash), solitary settings (a remote island in the South Pacific) and the mundane lives of people taking on magical qualities (Hurley's trouble with numbers, as one example).

The writing in 2005-2006 seems to have moved the show off the MR radar, however. It may or may not matter to the millions of television's viewers, but it matters here. Why? Part of the success of rock-solid MR (if there is such a thing) lies in its ability to maintain the magic in a believable fashion. Part of that maintenance includes avoiding loose threads.

I'm not suggesting explanations for things like the creepy animal-thing in the jungle. MR is not about explanations but about offering alternatives to the Western mode of realism. So what has happened to the creepy animal-thing? It hardly shows up anymore. Maybe it was a bad element and they replaced it with something more believable, such as the whispering Others? And what about these Others, anyway? We know they aren't so mysterious after all. Have they lost their spookiness with the series' late-spring revelations?

So many open questions lurk that the upcoming season really must address them if the show is going to keep from jumping the shark for so many peripheral viewers who wouldn't ordinarly choose sci fi or fantasy or supernatural programming. (For purists, it JedTS in the first season and continues to splay its skis).

What I want to know is how they plan to develop futures for two of the key characters, Mr. Eko and Locke? Both are strong, magical realist archetypes, their lives having been shaped by a mixture of the magic and the real. Are we likely to lose their stories as the plot thickens from its X-Files-styled finale, in which a connection is drawn between a turncoat member of the Others, his mysterious lover (who is the daughter of a major power player on the level of James Bond intrigue) and the scientists at a subzero station who located the odd magnetic "beacon" on the island in the last episode?

All this to say, the show is fast losing focus.

I've heard through the grapevine that Lost's season will run in two sections next fall, with a 6-week opening in October followed by a 13-week absence before it reappears with unbroken episodes in February. One bright spot? The elimination of repeat after repeat (and thank God for that). Will the time away allow the show's writers to change this chameleon into colors the audience will still recognize? With its creator, JJ Abrams, possibly jumping ship (but not the shark) in spring 2007, it's hard not to predict the fall of the show. Keep your fingers crossed they'll stop with all the loose ends and keep it believable in its originally magical way. Thumbs up for mystery; thumbs down for new plotlines that explain without resolving anything.

Let me know what you think.

Posted by at 9:21 AM PDT
Updated: 24 July 2006 9:36 AM PDT
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21 July 2006

[07.24.06]—Coming Up: Margin contributor and poet Katherine Grace Bond reads from her latest collection, Considering Flight. To be held at the P&G Cafe, 15614 Main St., Duvall, WA. Open mic at 6p; featured reader at 7p. Info: email


[07.24.06]—from The Independent—Daniel Howden is taken on a tour of Gaboland, led by none other than Jaime Garcia Marquez, the Nobel laureate's younger brother. "The Portal de los Dulces, one of Cartagena's favourite meeting points, has changed little in the last 100 years; the characters are just where Gabriel Garcia Marquez left them."

[07.20.06]—from DialogicFranz Kafka: "I Write Differently... I write differently from the way I speak, I speak differently from the way I think, I think differently from the way I should think—and so it goes on into the darkest depths of infinity."—(Letter to Ottla, July 10, 1914)

[07.20.06]—reported in The Elegant Variation: Australian magical realist Peter Carey appears in the latest edition of Paris Review. Get your copy


[07.19.06]—Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (Pantheon: November 2006)—Writes Luke Harding in Strasbourg for the Guardian Unlimited: "Increasingly, it seems, young German writers are no longer looking to Thomas Mann and Grass for inspiration, or studying the theories of Theodor Adorno. … Instead, they are looking to Anglo-Saxon fiction and Spanish magic realism. Kehlmann—who studied German literature and philosophy at university, publishing his first novel at 22—spent his teens reading Nabokov and Borges. He likes British writers including Zadie Smith and Ian McEwan."

[07.19.06]—On the Midwest Booksellers Association and the Great Lakes Booksellers Association bestsellers list for the week of July 16: FOR TRADE PAPERBACK FICTION: #5, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin); #9, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage); #12, Saturday by Ian McEwan (Anchor); #15, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Mariner); FOR CHILDREN'S TITLES: #15, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick)


[07.21.06]—The Brothers Grimm—Writes Bryan Reesman for Premiere—"Grimm is well cast, features dazzling effects, and incorporates the magical realism and antiauthoritarianism that are trademarks of Gilliam's œuvre, although that combination is not as potent as usual here." With director Terry Gilliam and writer Ehren Kruger.

[07.20.06]—Cloud Tectonics—Writes Neil Genzlinger for The New York Times—"The playwright doesn’t have quite enough here to be worthy of a full-length work (this production runs 100 intermissionless minutes), but the piece builds to a lovely concluding thought about love over a lifetime. Helping immensely the whole way is some striking lighting by Paul Hackenmueller, who does quite a lot with not very much." With director James Phillip Gates; based on Jose Rivera magical realist novel of the same title; runs through August 5 at the Culture Project, 45 Bleecker Street, East Village, NYC. For more info: (212) 868-4444.


YOU MAY NOTICE: We'll be experimenting with the format and frequency of this newsblog over the next few weeks. Let us know if something works well or doesn't work at all. We're here to serve you.

ESPECIALLY FOR WRITERS: Our reading period is closed, and all submissions have been processed. If you have not heard from us and you have a submission that remains outstanding, chances are good it was lost in the mail. You can always check with us; we have sent you a reply, which could have been lost in the mail.

GET PINGED! If you are set up to read web feeds, simply Margin's MAGICAL REALISM NEWS RSS feed to your reader using your web reader's tools. You'll receive automated feeds whenever we update the Magical Realism Newsblog. If you haven't moved into the world of RSS, don't despair. It's easier than it looks. RSS means "really simple syndication." To download a freeware RSS web reader (which allows you to "get pinged"—that is, receive automatic updates of new content posted at all your favorite blogs), we recommend Active Web Reader 2.4. Set up is easy and the feed reader is customizable.

GENTLE REMINDER: Margin's staff is on hiatus through mid-October 2006. Any e-mail we receive during this time will receive replies as necessary, but there may be delays due to pool parties, novel revision, rib festivals or stargazing.

Posted by at 10:03 AM PDT
Updated: 21 July 2006 10:07 AM PDT
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17 July 2006
MR OVER THE WEEKEND + COMMENTARY: McOndo and the manufacturing of literary movements
Topic: July 2006

[07.17.06]—Michael Martone by Michael Martone (Ficton Collective 2) has earned the distinction as the Litblog Co-op's Summer READ THIS! Selection this week. Maybe this isn't magical realism per se, but fans of MR will likely appreciate the book's unorthodox approach by an equally unorthodox (and excellent) author. Read an excerpt here

[07.16.06]—An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by Cesar Aira; Chris Andrews, tr.—Writes Ilan Stavans for—"More than fiction, [Episode] is an imaginative chronicle based on [protagonist] Rugendas' correspondence and other historical sources from the [19th Century]. To which Aira adds the novelistic touch: el beso de la fantasia—the kiss of fantasy." Stavans suggests, in the title to his review ("Latin Americans still tweaking the novel"), that the McOndo crowd may be fighting an uphill battle: "The future is unlikely to be kind to McOndo. As for [Roberto] Bola?o [previously discussed in this newsblog] and (on a good day) Aira, they will stand the test of time." New Directions, 2006 [English edition; 2000, en Espa?ol]


Question: Why does it have to be MR or bust? I may be a huge supporter of literary magical realism, but it doesn't mean that I expect all Latino writing to take on that form. Now, I know that the American publishing industry has made it difficult for Latin American writers to break out of their prescribed pigeonholes, and that's absolutely tragic. And I understand Fuguet's stance in McOndo, that the only way to break the circle of pigeonholing is to declare a new literary movement (whether it be Fuguet's McOndo or the Mexican members of the Crack Manifesto). But, as Ilan Stavans points out in his article [cited above], "Their objective was to turn Magic Realism on its head. But their novels were flat and repetitive and, in most cases, D.O.A." You can't blame them for trying in the name of literature, but it makes me wonder how successful movements in literature are made. By a conscious effort (such as McOndo), or more organically (such as Magical Realism), so that only in hindsight are the footprints recovered in the sand? It may have been possible, back in the day of Carpentier, Uslar-Pietri and Cortazar, to intellectually move literature into a new direction using geography, experience and culture in ways collective, but can this really happen today? With the global village erasing certain boundaries and consumerism weighing in more than intellectualism in the US, is it possible to create a new literary movement on purpose? Let me know what you think.

Posted by at 8:06 AM PDT
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14 July 2006
Hubert Lampo; Waking Lazarus; Cellophane; In the Arms of Words; Kafka on the Shore; The Shadow of the Wind; Bernardo Atxaga
Topic: July 2006

Belgian writer Hubert Lampo died on July 13 at the age of 85. Lampo authored 21 novels, including the infamous The Coming of Joachim Stiller, as well as numerous novellas and short stories. He was an award-winning author writing from the vantage of his experiences in World War II, and he incorporated elements of magical realism in much of his writing. He was considered a likely candidate for the Nobel Prize.


[07.16.06]—Deadline to enter BethanyHouse newsletter free book giveaway for the debut suspense title, Waking Lazarus by T.L. Hines. From the publisher: "Jude Allman has died and come back to life three times, becoming a celebrity against his own wishes. When the world crushes in around this unlikely miracle man, this modern-day Lazarus, he escapes into the vastness of Montana." Five free copies will be raffled off through a random selection of entries. Go to the website to enter.

[07.14.06]—Reading for disaster relief anthology, In the Arms of Words, Amy Ouzoonian, editor. To be held 7:30p at Writer's Voice of the West Side YMCA, 5 W. 63rd Street (between Broadway and Central Park West), Manhattan. Free admission. Free wine. Info:


[07.14.06]—Cellophane by Marie Arana—Writes Ashley Simpson Shires for the Rocky Mountain News—"[L]like [Garcia] Marquez and Allende, her writing invokes the term 'magical realism.' Arana eloquently derides this term, though, in a 1999 feature for the Washington Post Book Club. She contends that ghosts, levitations, and strange possessions of the soul are 'deeply Latin American preoccupations, forged over centuries by the fusion of indigenous American, Spanish and African faiths.' The supernatural is a way of life, she argues, not a literary device but a constant presence in the mindset." The Dial Press, 2006

[07.12.06]—Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (Penguin) was Renee's Book of the Day this week.

[07.09.06]—The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Penguin) rated #14 on the New England Booksellers Association trade paperback fiction list this past week.


[07.11.06]—Obaba, or the Hidden Land—Writes Anna Bello for the Romanian daily, NineO'Clock—"An investigative trip to a mysterious, isolated Basque hill town populated by eccentrics (and a fair dash of lizards) becomes a mesmerizing and evocative experience for protagonist and viewer alike in [director] Montxo Armendariz’s wonderful screen treatment" of the Bernardo Atxaga novel, Obabakoak. "The film carefully unlocks the past to study its effect on the present. The production’s fresh vision and fusion of regional charm with magic realism should ensure art house interest from viewers." With Pilar Lopez de Ayala and Barbara Lennie; distributed by Transylvania Film.


YOU MAY NOTICE: We'll be experimenting with the format and frequency of this newsblog over the next few weeks. Let us know if something works well or doesn't work at all. We're here to serve you.

ESPECIALLY FOR WRITERS: Our reading period is closed, and all submissions have been processed. If you have not heard from us and you have a submissions that remains outstanding, chances are good it was lost in the mail. You can always check with us; we have sent you a reply, which could have been lost in the mail.

GET PINGED! If you are set up to read web feeds, simply Margin's MAGICAL REALISM NEWS RSS feed to your reader using your web reader's tools. You'll receive automated feeds whenever we update the Magical Realism Newsblog. If you haven't moved into the world of RSS, don't despair. It's easier than it looks. RSS means "really simple syndication." To download a freeware RSS web reader (which allows you to "get pinged"—that is, receive automatic updates of new content posted at all your favorite blogs), we recommend Active Web Reader 2.4. Set up is easy and the feed reader is customizable.

GENTLE REMINDER: Margin's staff is on hiatus through mid-October 2006. Any e-mail we receive during this time will receive replies as necessary, but there may be delays due to pool parties, novel revision, rib festivals or stargazing.

Posted by at 12:56 PM PDT
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10 July 2006
Topic: July 2006

Fans of or newcomers to the witty feminist magical realism of the late Angela Carter can enjoy a reassessment of the British author's œuvre via an article in the Independent Online by Michele Roberts. From the header: "Angela Carter's playful retelling of fairy tales and her witty feminism won her legions of fans. But 14 years after her death, is she still essential reading or has the world moved on?"

Gabo lovers who haven't heard this tidbit must have been on vacation (as I was): The residents of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's birthplace, Aracataca, Columbia, arranged a vote on July 2 to determine whether to change the town's name to Macondo in order to honor him. But in a strange ironic twist, a majority of residents failed to show up to vote. Writes Joshua Goodman in Guardian Unlimited: "In Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, the residents of the fictitious tropical hamlet of Macondo sleep through the midday swelter in porch hammocks. Fact imitated fiction on Sunday…" Isn't that a hoot? Fewer than half the minimum needed to vote showed up, though the town's mayor, Pedro Sanchez, reported that 93% of those who did vote opted for the change.

The futurists all predicted the 21st century as the wellspring for Indian culture. Here's more evidence: Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi's new lyrical fiction debut, The Last Song of Dusk. The Los Angeles Times has already blessed Shanghvi as the literary world's next young rising star for her sweeping, modern fairy tale, which "includes elements of magic realism."

Rebecca Assoun recently discussed Argentine author Alberto Gerchunoff's new nonfiction book, Jewish Gauchos in European Jewish Press as a "series of vignettes about shtetl life in Argentina. Praised for its depiction of how two entirely different cultures could coexist in a symbiotic relationship, Jewish Gauchos was written about a decade after Jewish immigration to Argentina began in earnest," all written in a style which "mixes prose and magical realism, lyricism and the story-telling."


ESPECIALLY FOR WRITERS: Our reading period is closed.

GENERAL REMINDER: Margin's staff is on hiatus through mid-October 2006. Any e-mail we receive during this time will receive replies as necessary, but there may be delays.


Webfeed (RSS/ATOM/RDF) registered at

I don't know what took me so long, but I finally set up the RSS feed format for this blog. If you can read web feeds, simply click on our URL and add it to your own and you'll received automated feeds whenever we update the Magical Realism Newsblog. Thanks for your patience!

Posted by at 12:40 PM PDT
Updated: 10 July 2006 1:37 PM PDT
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7 July 2006

You'll notice I've been a little slow this summer, but magical realism doesn't take time off. I'll try to keep you up to date as frequently as I am able—that is, vacations, trips to the pool, day hikes and s'mores roasting notwithstanding. Always feel free to send me your magical realism news and tips to Margin News Editor. In the meantime, here's a little catching up:

Come read about our fundraising hurricane relief project, Southern Revival, at Square Table! (Which is actually my reminder to you to buy your copy before they sell out!)

Here's one for the foreign film buffs out there: Mathamma The Mother Goddess. This film, reportedly the lone Indian-American entry in the Bollywood & Beyond International Film Festival this year, was described in Telegu Portal as "based on the real life experience of one village woman." Much of the magical realism is reflected both in the beautiful landscape cinematography and director Parthiban Shanmugam's painstaking attention to details. This will be a good one to check out for those who'd like to better understand how magical realism is not only about what can be seen, but also about what is behind what can be seen.

Related to this: I'm taking a generative writing class by Curtis Bonney (of Seattle Surrealists) at the Richard Hugo House on "Unrealism," and one of my classmates is a creative nonfiction writer interested in seeing how "unrealistic" writing can be portrayed in nonfiction narrative. She might be interested in checking out Shanmugam's technique.

"I would advise you to park your logical faculties at the lobby before you watch The Lake House,” writes Rina Jimenez-David for the Philippine Daily Inquirer (seen here, reprinted at "Only this way can you fully enjoy the film, jumping willy-nilly into its incredible premise—that two people, separated by time, can write to each other and fall in love through the powers of a magical mailbox. … It may sound unbelievable, even a bit ridiculous, when the movie’s story is summed up so baldly. But trust me. There’s more to The Lake House than just magical realism, as its publicity material trumpets."

I like, which means I'll probably fall out of favor with the more "erudite" folks in the literary world. But so what? North American magical realism, whether it's as wonderful as its South American precursor, still deserves examination. (Personally, I think North American magical realism is nothing like its South American counterpart, which means, of course, that it's its own thing, which is what it should be. And there are plenty of South American magical realists who don't write as well as Gabo, folks.) Anyway?

North American magical realism is cropping up in all sorts of ways, including via the intriguing graphic novel form that's become so hip these days. recently reviewed one such title, Ghost of Hoppers, written by Jaime Hernandez and published by Fantagraphics. Writes reviewer Chris Barsanti: "It's a bit of a cliche to call Jaime's work magical realist, though he definitely has shown those tendencies."

[Soapbox response: Why some people automatically consider magical realist efforts or categorization as cliche is beyond me—is there such a thing as cliched mainstream or literary writing? You never hear it referred to in that way, but ho-boy, it definitely exists. So much of mainstream and literary writing these days is comprised of derivative characters and plots already done. End of soapbox.]

Ghost of Hoppers is Volume 22 in the "Love and Rockets" series (remember, these are essentially high-grade comic books—but don't let that stop you, since high-grade comics are all the rage these days). It's an illustrated love story, essentially, between two punk Latina bisexuals. Did someone say collectible?

Barsanti offers this advice for those new to either Hernandez or the genre itself: "It's hard to say how much readers who are unfamiliar with the work of Jaime (or his brother Gilbert) will get out of Ghost of Hoppers as a standalone—for those, it's best recommended to go out and find a copy of Locas [from which Hoppers was originally spun] and get straight to reading—but it's likely as good an entry point as any to the furiously romantic and melancholic world of Maggie and Hopey."

[of recent note]
A production of Tony Kushner's Caroline, or Change recently showed in Washington, DC. Held at The Studio Theater, the play was summarized by All About Jewish Theatre thusly: "The Studio Theatre's new production features a top-of-the-line cast, a meticulous sung-through score by Jeanine Tesori (composer of Thoroughly Modern Millie) and an intimate staging that explores the not-so-colorblind relations between Southern Jews and blacks during the height of the civil rights era." The play originally premiered on Broadway in 2004 and broadens Kushner's reach by being utterly personal in its evocation of magical realism.

Posted by at 11:59 AM PDT
Updated: 7 July 2006 12:13 PM PDT
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15 June 2006
Topic: June 2006

Previous contributor, Scottish artist Dee Rimbaud (cover art, Margin, Autumn 2005 edition and current contents page art) announces a special art auction: "The closing date for offers is 30th June 2006… There are 50+ (works) altogether, in different styles and mediums. I'm willing to accept offers for them, because of difficult financial circumstances, which I won't elaborate on here, but which—if you're curious—you can read about in detail in my travel-blog… You may view all the pictures for sale on my website… Also, my most popular artworks are now available as posters, greeting cards, postcards, as well as on t-shirts, mugs and fridge-magnets. … I do hope you will consider taking a look and maybe making a purchase." Check out his work; maybe you'll not only find something you like, but you'll help out an artist in need as well!

Posted by at 2:44 PM PDT
Updated: 15 June 2006 2:57 PM PDT
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12 June 2006
Topic: June 2006
Miscellaneous News

NOW LIVE! Margin's latest, greatest issue—"Voyage to the Village: A Magical Realist Passport". Features voices and visions from all around the world, mostly from those magical realist writers and thinkers we're not most familiar with. This will be Margin's last edition for a good while, but it's jam-packed, so set your bookmarks, because we've got some serious summer reading for you! Featuring Eduardo Garcia Aguilar, Rajeev Balasubramanyam, Giles Goodland, A.J. LeFlahec, Catharine Leggett, Anna Maria Ortese, Robert Perchan, Sarah Sloat and Gloria Hickok Vando, plus many of Margin's popular columns, book reviews, analytical nonfiction and much more!

[Coming Up]
Fans of Southern Revival will doubtless want to see this event: SOUTHERN LIT: featuring Sherry Austin, author of Mariah of the Spirits, and Dot Jackson, author of Refuge. They will discuss sense of place, family themes, magical realism and Southern Gothic at the Henderson County Public Library in Hendersonville, NC at 4 p.m. For more info: 828.697.4725.

In keeping with our international theme, check out this book by Canadian magical realist author Jamie Bastedo. On Thin Ice is the coming-of-age magical realist story of a young girl, Ashley, in Canada's Arctic. A so-called "minestrone girl," Ashley has an Inuit father and a French-Canadian mother and she lives in a crazy house a marvelous, crazy blend of family and pets. Suitable as a young adult novel, which means it's going to be interesting to all adults in general.

Posted by at 10:22 AM PDT
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5 June 2006
Topic: June 2006
Miscellaneous News

Jim Krusoe's list of summer reading, "Perchance to Dream," in a special issue of the LA Times' column, includes a nice treasure trove of gems offering up facets of magical realism, such as:

Chronicle of Stone, by Ismail Kadare
Light, by Torgny Lindgren
The Palm-Wine Drinkard, by Amos Tutuola
The Radiance of the King, by Camara Laye
The Ten Thousand Things, by Marie Dermout
The Third Policeman, by Flann O'Brien
Writes Krusoe: "So, do I have a bone to pick with 'realistic' literature? Not really, but reality is what I can find outside my door any day of the week." Nuff said, Jim.

Anita Nair gives a wonderful first-person wrap-up of this year's Bogota Book Fair in The Hindu Review for those of us who couldn't make it. She's got an interesting perspective on what it must be like to be an author in Gabo-land.

For Isabel Allende fans who can't get enough of the diva, check out this interview posted in the online English edition of the Greek newspaper, Kathimerini.

Magical realism can always be linked to current political events. Consider the US's current brouhaha over immigration reform, then take a look at Ann Hornaday's discussion of the 1984 film El Norte in The Houston Chronicle. She describes the film as a "graceful blend of classical narrative and magic realism and the power with which it brought an otherwise invisible world to life." It'll probably be hard to find at the vid-store, but do make the effort. Or queue up the ol' Tivo wishlist.

Posted by at 10:02 PM PDT
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2 June 2006
Topic: June 2006
Miscellaneous News

Magical realist author and Southern Revival contributor Bill Branley has decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from his soon-to-be-released novel, Sea Changes, to Book Relief. Branley writes: "Since I am from New Orleans, and I like books, I have decided to support this effort by contributing $1 for each copy sold from my first printing of Sea Changes. Since the first printing is 5,000 copies, and each dollar purchases two books, this donation will buy 10,000 books. That's about the number of books in a small library." Folks in the Puget Sound area can get their copy first-hand from the author on June 29, when Eagle Harbor Books of Bainbridge Island hosts the novel's release party. The evening's theme, "Northwest Writers Explore Deep South Roots," will spotlight Branley and Chimacum, WA writer Anne Turissini, who is currently writing a memoir about her 30-year career working as a female public defender in New Orleans. Additionally, Branley writes: "In keeping with the Deep South flavor of the evening, I am offering a free bowl of my special shrimp stew with each book signed. Yes, this is my mother's recipe, the one that is described in Chapter 11 of Sea Changes." Copies of his book may also be ordered online at Eagle Harbor's Sea Changes Order Page.

Posted by at 9:37 AM PDT
Updated: 5 June 2006 10:10 PM PDT
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30 May 2006
magical realism news for Tue May 30
Topic: May 2006
Miscellaneous News

Imagine, a university of magic… You don't need to imagine anymore! DNA India reports that a new course at Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata will be "geared towards helping movie makers, animators and others linked to the world of illusion and magic realism." The creator of the curriculum, PC Sorcar Jr., explains that “the aim behind institutionalising magic is to eliminate superstitions and make people think rationally.” Response to the future course (fall 2006) has been overwhelming and may very well pave the way for the creation of an actual University of Magical Arts in Kolkata. Whodathunk?

Our friends at the wonderful independent publishing house, The Aliform Group, recently shared great news: one of their own has done well. Jose Sarney's recent novel, Master of the Sea, translated by Dr. Gregory Rabassa and published by Aliform, won third place in ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year award in translation. I'm not surprised; it's a wonderful novel. Check it out here

Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits will come to the stage in Seattle in June 2007, dramatized by playwright Myra Platt. More info

The novel, Borrowed Body, by Valerie Mason-John, recently won the Mind Book of the Year award. The judges, Blake Morrison, Michele Roberts and Fay Weldon credited the novel for its "authenticity, despite being a blend of fictional memoir and magical realist fantasy." Read about it at The Guardian Unlimited

Here's a nice article about magical realism written by Omale Allen Abduljabbar of the Nigerian literati for Vanguard. Segue: An excellent reminder: June's edition of Margin will play host to dozens of international writers of magical realism. Stay tuned!

Posted by at 3:10 PM PDT
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22 May 2006
Topic: May 2006
Miscellaneous News

Bill Branley, magical realist writer and contributor to Southern Revival, reports that his experience at this year's BEA was positive and that Southern Revival received raves. Thanks, Bill, for putting the word out in DC! You can read a local article about Southern Revival in a recent edition of the Bainbridge Island Review.

Mozambique author, Mia Couto, earned raves from reviewer Nabeelah Shabbir for his latest novel, Sleepwalking Land, about which Shabbir says: "Both the narrative structure and tone of the book recall the Latin American magic realist genre—Muidiga’s youngest brother rapidly transforms into a cockerel, whilst a river runs dry the day after a patriarchal funeral has taken place on the water. It's all very fantastical and Couto has brewed the magic of his novel by preserving it in one of Latin America’s original languages—Portuguese. The Garcia Marquez motifs are very familiar but they have been displaced to Mozambique and adapted to the onset of war."

Folks in New Jersey who appreciate a little enchantment might wish to attend contributor Pamela Hughes' workshop, "Healing with the Fairies and Spirit Animals Workshop," slated for Saturday, June 10th, which will be held at the Ramapo reservation. Children 7 and up are invited and encouraged to attend, but Pamela also suggests attendants without children to bring their own "playful, inner child." For more info.

Yesterday's Book Standard reported on The New York Times recently list of top fiction from the last 25 years. Magical realist titles that made the list include Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and Mark Helprin's Winter’s Tale.

Posted by at 10:41 AM PDT
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18 May 2006
Topic: May 2006

Contributor News

Stephen Siciliano (Vedette) continues his "La Danza" through New York on Thursday, May 18 at The Wine Room of Forest Hills [718.520.1777] and on Saturday May 20 at the home of documentary film maker Vincent Liotta in Greenwich [212.227.O240 or 646.515.5743]. Siciliano will give readings from his novel to musical pieces from Omar Torres' albums "Dynamisto" and "La Danza." Writes Siciliano: "Come swill some flamenco wine and catch the flamenco groove." Both of these performances are open to the public.

Jan Steckel writes: "I wanted to let you all know that the first print run of 200 of my new poetry chapbook, The Underwater Hospital, sold out in three weeks. Copies of the second print run are now available for $5 from Zeitgeist Press and at" Editor's note: They list her chapbook as a pamphlet… Would somebody please educate the folks at Amazon on the difference between a chapbook and a pamphlet? Sheesh.

New magical realist titles
Between the Bridge and the River, by Craig Ferguson [yes, the Late Show host].
Malinche, by Laura Esquivel
Refuge, by Dot Jackson
Matters of Life and Death, by Bernard MacLaverty

Check out these performances
Almost, Maine, Friday, May 19, Caribou Performing Arts Center in Caribou, ME; Penobscot Theatre Company, playwright John Cariani

The Ventriloquist, through Sunday May 21, 125 Bathurst in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; director Keith Turnbull, playwright Larry Tremblay

Film news
Check out El Doctor, an animated film by Suzan Pitt

Boohoo: The recent film release of The Mistress of Spices is not getting great reviews. I'm too sad about that to add the links to all the critics' pans in London. Just suffice it to say that, as Garrett Rowlan points out in our upcoming edition of Margin, magical realism might not truly be capturable for the big screen. (Any arguments to this theory can be sent directly to me, but you might first consider reading Rowlan's upcoming thesis on the subject in the June 9th edition.)

Another film that's not getting great reviews: Just My Luck. But who expected that one to be great? James Rocchi for Cinematical suggests a better film based on the concept of luck: Intacto. Thanks for the tip, James. Intacto sounds like a keeper, even if JML isn't.

Magical Realist Miscellany
Here's a terrific comparative book review on political writing in The Nation—critic John Banville spotlights Roberto Bola?o's Last Evenings on Earth and The Successor, Ismail Kadare's latest effort. While his references to magical realism are secondary, Banville's discussion itself is thoughtful and germaine to any dialogue about MR.

And while I'm on a tangent…why not check out Rebecca Solnit's commencement address for U-Cal Berkeley's English Department, "Welcome to the Impossible World"? Solnit: "Books matter. Stories matter. People die of pernicious stories, are reinvented by new stories, and make stories to shelter themselves. Though we learned from postmodernism that a story is only a construct, so is a house, and a story can be more important as shelter: the story that you have certain inalienable rights and immeasurable value, the story that there is an alternative to violence and competition, the story that women are human beings. Sometimes people find the stories that save their lives in books." Another relevant excursion into the roots and reasons for magical realism, methinks.

Posted by at 11:12 AM PDT
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12 May 2006
Topic: May 2006
The MAY 2006 edition of Margin is now live!

THIS HAS been a fun issue to put together. After all, magical realism relies on the ordinary for its value. What could be more ordinary than life in a quiet little town in the backwater of Colombia (consider Gabo's Macondo), or the experiences of a solitary traveller looking for a room to let (in Thomas Mann's "The Wardrobe"), or the study of a city map (for a "Street of Crocodiles")?

In Chocolat, the chocolatier hanging her shingle in a conservative French village isn't all that extraordinary, until you realize she's learning the future through batches of confection she stirs up daily. In Anjali Banerjee's funny novel, Imaginary Men, an American matchmaker with Indian roots is not so unusual to ponder until you learn she has literally witnessed the physiological process of lovers uniting. And what's so exceptional about mourning the loss of one's child? Except that readers of Toni Morrison's powerful novel, Beloved, will set you straight: that was no ordinary loss, and she was no ordinary child.

Domesticities seemed the perfect title for this edition revolving around daily life. It's a term narrow enough to conjure a sense of home, yet broad enough to be applied on multiple levels. Domestic life is about work, family, land. Homeland is a word we can all relate to, but in myriad different ways. Whether we come from city or country, whether we have large or small families, whether we have money or not, the homeland might be one of the few constructs that defines us together even when we are living distinctly different lives.

In this edition, you'll find a wide array of interpretations of domestic life:

the sad consequence of living in a paper house ~ the vivid links between generations of abused women in West Virginia ~ the treasures one finds under a pile of dirty dishes ~ the way one genius built his ascension to Heaven ~ the continuity of a town even underwater ~ the picture window revealing lost pasts ~ the barnyard messages of animal tracks ~ the living past at a Civil War site ~ the magically enhanced lives of certain Irish immigrants ~ the puzzling result of eating tainted fruit ~ the tall tale of a legendary swamp lover ~ the miracle of snowfall on a Southern barn ~ the building of a personal labyrinth ~ the story of one runaway boy who wiped out racial tension in a blue-collar town ~ the startling way one woman captured a man's heart ~ the plight of a fisherman at the end of his life ~ the animation of a home as an orphan searches for her mother


Stephen Benz ~ A.D. Conrad ~ Mark D'Anna ~ Emily Dickinson~ Maureen Tolman Flannery ~ Mary Clair Ervin Gildea ~ Pauline Holdstock ~ Pamela Hughes ~ Barbara Jacksha ~ Sondra Kelly-Green ~ Sheila Nickerson ~ Stephanie Rodriguez ~ Sandra Schwayer Sanchez ~ Lois Schlegel ~ Jerry Spinelli ~ Jodee Stanley

Some announcements:

• Check out the crystal ball icon on our contents page. Roll your cursor over it and you will foresee into a bit of Margin's future for 2006!

• Coming in June: a special international edition

• Our general reading period is still CLOSED. Sorry, we've got 2006 filled! Subscribers are the first to learn of new calls for submissions: if you haven't subscribed, you ought to do so soon, as the free option may vanish later this year!

SOUTHERN REVIVAL: DEEP MAGIC FOR HURRICANE RELIEF is now available! We're asking for $10 minimum, 100% of each donation forwarded to First Book. Many thanks for The Georgia Review and The North American Review for their assistance in helping us promote this important fundraiser.

• Keep In Touch! Our MAGICAL REALISM NEWS BLOG is back and better than ever. If you have any magical realism news you'd like to contribute, drop me an email at:

I hope you enjoy this "ordinary" edition of Margin. Perhaps it will remind you of that moment in your life when you stepped between worlds for a breath or two and found something new. You know of such moments. We've all had them. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they come daily. Were we to look for them, what would we discover about ourselves? Probably much more to write home about than we previously thought.

Time for me to get back to my garden of words.

Tamara Kaye Sellman, Editor and Publisher
aka The Magical Realism Maven


Posted by at 11:35 AM PDT
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5 May 2006
Editor's rant
Mood:  irritated
This is only tangentially related to MR News, but here goes anyway:

If you are interested in joining a list discussing feminist science fiction, don't join the Feminist Sci Fi ( carried by The site for the group is fine, and useful, but the main list is poorly managed by people who seem not to understand the very technology they're administrating.

They recently had to change addresses after encountering trouble with autoreplies.

Autoreplies (you know, the messages that read, "So and So will be out of the office through Friday; for assistance, please contact Such and Such at xxx.xxxx") are generally not a handling problem for the rest of us who have been list admins over the years (including, ahem, myself). Each list mechanism has its own way of dealing with autoreplies, which is what the list handler for this group should have engaged.

Now, list mistress Leanne Phillips might be an otherwise lovely individual, but her approach to fixing a problem which is largely one of administration and not one of membership is rather extreme: she wants to ban all members using autoreplies. Oh, and she called people who use autoreplies "megalomaniacs."


Suffice it to say, I unsubscribed.

It wasn't that great a list anyway, just an Internet book discussion group, mostly. Where I live, we can talk about books in person. And we do. All sorts of books. Even feminist SF books!

Oh, and PS: It's probably useful to note that they've never received an autoreply from me!

Tamara's tip of the day

Posted by at 9:01 AM PDT
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3 May 2006
Topic: May 2006
GOOD NEWS...we've collected almost $1500 from the sale of SOUTHERN REVIVAL to donate to First Book! That's more than half of what we'd hoped to collect, and well in advance of when we thought we'd collect it. That $1500 will make it possible for 3000 brand-new books to be distributed to libraries in the process of rebuilding across the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast region.

Some updates:

SR has made appearances at the following live events:

Rainbow Bookfest, Seattle
Private gumbo party, Bainbridge Island, WA
Unitarian social gathering, Bainbridge Island, WA

SR has received publicity commitments from:
The Burning Word Poetry Festival
The Georgia Review
North American Review

SR is now available for purchase directly from:
Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA

SR will appear at the following venues this spring:
Pegasus Book Discussion Group, Bainbridge Island, WA
Neighborhood event, Bainbridge Island, WA
An open mic event in Jacksonville, FL (tba)
A coffee shop in St. Louis, MO (tba)
Jacksonville, FL indy bookseller (tba)
Skagit River Poetry Festival, La Conner, WA

We are working to publicize SR at the following venues:
BEA 2006, WA DC
ALA 2006, NOLA

We are arranging the following events/appearances for the fall:
Katrina anniversary reading event, NOLA
Private gumbo party, Bainbridge Island, WA
Write on the Sound writers conference, Edmonds, WA

We are working on a full-range publicity package this week and next, and we're into another print run to keep up with demands. As SR is a hand-made journal, production is slower than typical, but the results have been outstanding, and so far, people are raving!

Don't have your copy yet? Get one while they're hot! This is, after all, a limited edition!

Posted by at 4:07 PM PDT
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