“When Mexico City still existed, I wore a beautiful yellow helmet,” begins the story by Juan Villoro.
Don’t you want to read on, dear writers?! There’s something about the intermingling of real and surreal that speaks to the imagination, planting images in the reader’s mind that are bold and beautiful. Sometimes called magical realism, this genre that Villoro writes in offers a different way of seeing the world, bringing to the surface the otherworldy elements of life.
Here are a few more of our favorite examples. Notice how sometimes the fantastical elements are quite obvious, while other times the magic is just a brushstroke—a suggestion that the world we live in holds great power and beauty if we care to notice.
The House of the Spirits
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- They had also grown accustomed to the youngest daughter's prophecies. She would announce earthquakes in advance, which was quite useful in the country of catastrophes, for it gave them a chance to lock up the good dishes and place their slippers within reach in case they had to run out in the middle of the night.
- Then, for more than ten days, they did not see the sun again. The ground became soft and damp, like volcanic ash, and the vegetation was thicker and thicker, and the cries of the birds and the uproar of the monkeys became more and more remote, and the world became eternally sad. The men on the expedition felt overwhelmed by their most ancient memories in that paradise of dampness and silence, going back to before original sin, as their boots sank into pools of steaming oil and their machetes destroyed bloody lilies and golden salamanders.
- Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, General Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
This week, dear writers, enchant us with your own short passage of magical realism. For inspiration, check out these pieces by young writers Demory
and Tatiana J.S.