Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism

F I C T I O N   A R C H I V E S   2 0 0 1
Stories of Magical Realism
s t o r i e s   ~   e x c e r p t s

The Deadly Kiss Jan 2001 -- 5 pages
THE DEADLY KISS
a n j a n a   b a s u   ~   c a l c u t t a ,   i n d i a
"Suleiman Khan was the last of the great lady-killers. Women who hadn't met him claimed he oozed charm from every pore. Women who had, never spoke again."
     ANJANA BASU WRITES: "The reality of magical realism must be recognisably the world we live in with the addition of the magical element. So there should be no dragons or talking animals -- this immediately separates it from fantasy. The magic of magical realism must be natural, inexplicable, and uncontrollable. This is not magic in the sense of casting spells -- it's magic in the sense that it exceeds the boundaries of the purely realistic -- and makes it part of a new, more heightened reality. The magic is either innate within people (the most beautiful girl in the world -- the best pool player in the galaxy) or purely environmental (raining flowers, racing blood). Those who experience such magic are not its initiators -- they exist in a world, described in realist terms, where magic is part of the reality."

The Death of Borges (And The Death of Borges) September 2001 - 6 pages
THE DEATH OF BORGES
(AND THE DEATH OF BORGES)

d e n n i s   v a n n a t t a   ~   l i t t l e   r o c k ,   a r k a n s a s
"In truth, after our auspicious beginning, Borges rarely acknowledged my presence. Not through rudeness or indifference, though: he was absorbed in the card game. "
     DENNIS VANNATTA WRITES: "Magic realism weds the mythic and the mundane. It is not exclusive but all-inclusive, embracing the natural and the supernatural, the rational and irrational, and all stages in between. "

The 5:22 November/December 2001 - 7 pages
THE 5:22
g e o r g e   h a r r a r   ~   w a y l a n d ,   m a s s a c h u s e t t s
"What had possessed him to gaze at her for those few seconds that the crimson scarf fluttered in the wind, revealing the thick, slashing scars of an ear that wasn't there anymore?"
     GEORGE HARRAR WRITES: "Life seems magical to me, in the sense of the wonder, the surprise, the beauty and the horror of it. Since I view life, and write about it, in this way, all my stories reflect a kind of magical realism. I don't mean to expand the definition of the genre into meaninglessness. Other writers may see a clearer delineation between realism and magical realism. For me life is always bordering on the mystical, the strange and the wonderful. "

For Sale June 2001 -- 2 pages
FOR SALE
l i a n n e   m e r c e r   ~   f r e d e r i c k s b u r g ,   t e x a s
"The words do not cost the same. Nor do they taste the same."
     LIANNE MERCER WRITES: "Writing magical realism means keeping the mystery behind the words. It means sending my mind into the virtual image behind the image I'm writing about, and giving the reader the opportunity to do the same. It means being grounded in this world while stepping into another, metaphorical world where anything can happen. Magical realism is listening to the way words call to each other, evoking responses in the reader."

The Haunting of Thomas Longbull August 2001 - 5 pages
THE HAUNTING OF THOMAS LONGBULL
w a y n e   u d e   ~   w h i d b e y   i s l a n d ,   w a s h i n g t o n
"There are some who don't believe it will end even yet; the story's already spreading that Longbull has had a second shadow ever since he found Blunt's body. "
     WAYNE UDE WRITES: "One of the nice things about writing magical realism is that one's definition continually shifts, unlike definitions of some other kinds of fiction which can be pinned on a board like dead butterflies. At times, I think magical realism is mostly metaphor -- Old Man Coyote, for example, is a metaphor for all things which are inherently chaotic and unpredictable. At other times, it seems to me that magical realism is a form which allows other realities occasionally to break into a basically "realistic" universe. Most of the time, however, my contention is that magical realism simply acknowledges a larger reality than does simple realism: multiple levels of reality exist and are always present, though we may not always be aware of them. "

The Homely Child Feb 2001 -- 4 pages
THE HOMELY CHILD
r i c h a r d   c o d y   ~   o r l a n d o ,   f l o r i d a
"It was only when Hector discovered a particular family photo one gray afternoon that his pranks took a fatal turn."
     RICHARD CODY WRITES: "It seems to me that the definition of magic realism is an elusive one. For instance, the works of writers like Arthur Machen or H.P. Lovecraft, generally labeled horror fiction, might easily meet the criteria of the magic realism genre. In each author's work, a common frame of reference is host to uncommon events. I suppose that this is the best definition of magic realism that I can contrive -- a narrative wherein reality, like imagination, is boundless and mutable."

Ivan Evanochick's Last Confessionk Jan 2001 -- 6 pages
IVAN EVANOCHICK'S LAST CONFESSION
r o b e r t a   k u s i a k   ~   b o s t o n ,   m a s s a c h u s e t t s
"English and Slovakian whistled around his only tooth, punctuated by a cough that everyone thought signaled the end of Ivan Evanochick."
     ROBERTA KUSIAK WRITES: "Artists are seducers, leading both the willing and unwary into their created world. Some artists do this by weaving a fabric so close to the mundane that the visitor is seduced by the physically familiar. Other artists tempt visitors with velvets and satins of the night, the time of dreams and magic that doesn't hold together when viewed through the lens of science. But not all knowledge is accessible through charts and graphs; some sneaks in through the soul and catches us unaware. Since the soul is what makes us human, I believe that is the knowledge that has the power to change a person profoundly. Such is the power of Magic Realism."

The Lucite Handbag July 2001 - 7 pages
THE LUCITE HANDBAG
j .   r o b e r t   l e n n o n   ~   i t h a c a ,   n e w   y o r k
"I hear a scraping sound behind me and turn. It's the handbag, creeping across the table. It falls with a clatter and its contents fan out onto the floor. "
     MARGIN EDITOR TAMARA KAYE SELLMAN WRITES: "We chose this story for its brilliant attention to the hidden life of objects -- indeed, of places -- and for its mesmerizing foray into the inexplicable. If you leave this story certain that you understood what happened in it, you may want to reread it! J. Robert Lennon, in this story, has seized upon the frameless nature of magical realist fiction, probably without even meaning to. His deft exploration of the odd ensconced in the everyday makes this a great contemporary piece for any student to analyze. "

The Works of Alfonso Real May 2001 -- 9 pages
THE WORKS OF ALFONSO REAL
j o e   b e n e v e n t o   ~   k i r k s v i l l e ,   m i s s o u r i
"When she left my office that day, I hoped her pride had not been wounded, and I felt a slight twinge of regret for ever having let Alfonso Real undo her."
     JOE BENEVENTO WRITES: "Anyone who wants to understand what magic realism is needs to read One Hundred Years of Solitude by García Márquez and "The Garden of Forking Paths" by Jorge Luis Borges. Understanding and appreciating those works will do more for a person's understanding of magic realism than any definition ever could. The way García Márquez interconnects the commonplace with the fabulous, in a hypnotic and yet fully human narrative, has no parallel in twentieth century literature. Borges's disturbingly convincing thesis in "... Forking Paths" is that mere reality is incidental, and fiction far more valid and all encompassing of the truly real."

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