The Tradition of Magic Realism in Latin American Literature

Aracely PictureLately I have been feeding my identity as a Latino writer by way of absorbing as much Latin American literature as possible. It has been a daunting but rewarding task. In my quest, I have read books of fiction by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, such as the renowned 100 Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and currently Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Though I have mostly read fiction, I hope to delve into the realm of poetry fairly soon.

When engaging with Latin American texts the common thread of Magic Realism begins to make itself known. This particular genre is very rich and vivid but not for everyone. Due to its fantastical nature and imaginative leaps some claim that it is far too unrealistic, unreasonable, and makes little sense. However, many Latinos agree that the perspective and tradition of Magic Realism speaks directly to their people and collective voice. In Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude, it is perfectly acceptable that ghosts should appear to give the living company, or that butterflies should follow a character faithfully and, in turn, follow his lover. For me, the beauty of the genre borders poetry, with its slow lulling narrative, and truth concerning matters of life and love. Having been to Mexico several times throughout my life, the genre matches the rhythms and rituals of living and the way people interact in that country.

The tradition of this kind of writing fascinates me.  I have tried my hand at writing in this way and will continue to experiment with this style. For me, it seems that reading and writing about the Latin American experience is not only refreshing and exciting but rings true to preserving my culture.

-Aracely Medina, Senior Poetry Editor