A Perfect Marriage : Magic and Realism

Posted On 4 June 2019

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 23 responses


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is:

Books From My Favorite Genre – Fantasy

I predominantly read fantasy which can be included in so many other genres so I wasn’t short of things to explore this week but ultimately I decided to go for ‘magical realism’ for this week’s topic.

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris – magic, mystery and a tantalising story of letting go, of having difficult choices, of being a mother, raising a child with love and care but then acknowledging that your child is now an adult and must be allowed to fly the nest and choose a path.


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – incredibly original love story that involves a young man with a medical condition that sees him frequently misplaced along his own timeline.


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – The strange story of a murdered girl – told from the pov of the victim herself who is now in heaven watching as her family struggle to come to terms with their loss.


The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar – period drama set in a time during history when people were enchanted/fascinated by the idea of anything magical.  Mr Hancock comes into possession of a ‘Mermaid’ when what he really wants is a wife and companion.  Clever, witty and a bit of a romp.

The Mermaid.jpg

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield – ‘A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child’ – Miracle, magic or science – you’ll have to read to find out.

Once Upon a River

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman ‘a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark’


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – ‘What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? ‘


The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – ‘For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.’ A prequel to Practical Magic.

The Rules

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale – ‘while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…’


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – set in high school the story revolves a young girl who dies following an accident, except she wakes up each day and relives the experience.  A Groundhog Day style YA fantasy.

Before I fall.jpg

23 Responses to “A Perfect Marriage : Magic and Realism”

  1. Theresa Smith Writes

    I really like magical realism! A great top ten and I’ve loved many of these books you’ve included.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It seems to be my ‘go to’ kind of read to be honest. I hadn’t realised just how many authors I enjoy who write MR.
      Lynn 😀

      • Theresa Smith Writes

        That’s what struck me when reading this post! I’m not a wide reader of fantasy, but this I really enjoy. Some of the books I’ve read that are magical realism I probably never would have labelled them as such, I wouldn’t have known what to categorise them as – you’ve open my eyes up here! Thanks 😊

      • @lynnsbooks

        I must confess that sometimes I struggle to categorise a book and sometimes it simply isn’t possible – but I know that some people don’t really enjoy anything ‘fantastic’ in their reads at all which is why if it’s a contemporary book that has a little supernatural or fantasy element included I like to point it out – and I usually figure the ‘magical realism’ descriptor works.
        Lynn 😀

  2. evelynreads1

    Oh I love magical realism! But I barely read it, so I should try some of these!


    • @lynnsbooks

      It tends to be my fallback position – or, now I think about it – it tends to be one of my automatic picks!
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I’m fascinated by the description of Gaiman’s book and by its amazing cover….

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ooh, it’s such a good read – quite possibly my favourite book of his.
      Lynn :d

  4. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    The only one I’ve read is Ocean at the End of the Lane, but I absolutely loved that one

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I really loved the Ocean book – it’s probably one of my favourites by Gaiman.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Very cool, magical realism is a bit of a tricky genre for me, but I haven’t read the majority of these, so if they get the thumbs up from you, I should take a look!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I do have a tendency to love certain authors and I am detecting that quite a few of them write magical realism – particularly joanne harris/Alice Hoffman and Neil Gaiman.
      Lynn 😀

  6. vacuouswastrel

    If you like magic realism (“fantasy in Spanish” as Gene Wolfe called it), you need to read One Hundred Years of Solitude. Or if that’s too heavy, maybe Of Love and Other Demons? Also Saramago’s “Blindness”.

    Two great novels that trip the edge of ‘magic realism’ are Roy’s “The God of Small Things” and Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”. In the former case, the, as it were, magical storyteller is not the narrator, who is clear that nothing supernatural is happening, but the point of view character, who is a child, and hence sometimes describes things using magic realist techniques. In the latter case, there is only a single supernatural element, but it’s embedded in a novel that has the feel of a fantasy adventure, despite dealing with entire non-supernatural events – it’s probably technically MR (the magical as mundane and the mundane as magical), but only just.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I’ll check out your suggestions. I like the look of Love and Other Demons – noticed this is the author of Love in the Time of Cholera – I’ve not read that book but it’s always intrigued me. Have you read it?
      Lynn 😀

      • vacuouswastrel

        Oddly, no – perhaps I was too contrary, it being so popular and ‘romantic’.

        “One Hundred Years of Solitude” almost literally blew me away as a teenager – I walked around without slouching for a week or two after, and lost interest in reading (and writing) for quite a while, because after that what was the point in reading anything else. For a long time I’d have called it the best book ever, and the only reason I wouldn’t do so now is that it’s been so long since I read it.

        But on the back of that, I went on to read “Of Love and Other Demons” (nowhere near as good, but also nowhere near as long, so maybe suitable as a taster), and his “Collected Stories” (many great, some just OK), and “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” (narrative non-fiction, very good), and I got a little way into “The Autumn of the Patriarch” before giving up (it’s denser and drier in style… although maybe I should try going back to it now I’m older). Never got around to “Cholera”.

      • @lynnsbooks

        Sounds like you had a book hangover after One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’ll go for Of Love and Other Demons and work my way up to the more mammoth task.
        Lynn 😀

      • vacuouswastrel

        Pretty much. Up to that point, I’d mostly read SF&F, and whatever “classic” the education system foisted onto me (and a few random things, like the complete works of Wilde). OHYOS was just so much better than anything I’d ever read before that it was stunning.
        [Even many years later, I could still recite the first and last lines from memory…]

      • @lynnsbooks

        I love it when a book affects you so deeply.
        Lynn 😀

  7. waytoofantasy

    I loved The Lovely Bones! And The Ocean at the End of the Lane may be my favorite Gaiman.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s such a lovely read isn’t it – probably one of my favourites too.
      Lynn 😀

  8. jessicabookworm

    Lynn, I love The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Lovely Bones, and I pretty much want to read all the other books on your list! 😀

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