Monday, 2 November 2009

Magic Realism

David Simpson wonders about the great vogue in magical realist novels; and more specifically, wonders why books mostly consumed in western cities are so often set 'in the (to us) remote corners of the undeveloped or developing world, the colours, smells and flavours are more intense, life is more meaningful and death less absolute than in the grey industrial or post-industrial landscapes of the north.' To that end he cites Moretti:
Moretti has speculated that this novel [100 Years of Solitude] and others like it speak to the world system from the peripheryin ways that would be impossible if they were set in Europe or North America: they hold out the possibility of re-enchantment in our disenchanted world
That's right, I think; and also explains much of the continuing appeal of both Fantasy and Sense-of-wonder SF. But it also exposes a fundamental problematic: because, in the terms of the novels themselves, the re-enchantment is literal (actual magic) whereas the prior disenchantment is only metaphorical. From this core imbalance all sorts of difficulties, failures and problems proceed.

1 comment:

nnyhav said...

You may be onto something here, a trend that could overtake Mary Sue, to wit, the Sense of Wanda.

(not even hapaxlegomenal ... til now)