On Magical Realism (Devanshu)

Defined on wikipedia as a genre of narrative fiction and, more broadly, art (literature, painting, film, theatre, etc.)that, while encompassing a range of subtly different concepts, expresses a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements.


Contemporary/real world setting: Heavy on Real, Easy on Magic

Authorial Reticence: The magic is normalized within the context, doesn’t seem weird to everybody else, only weird to the reader. There’s no reason for it.

Awareness of Mystery: The reader must let go of preexisting ties to conventional exposition, plot advancement, linear time structure, scientific reason, etc., to strive for a state of heightened awareness of life’s connectedness or hidden meanings.

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice”

Political/Social Critique: Magic realism contains an implicit criticism of society, particularly the elite. Makes us realize that “something” that cannot be observed in the real world

“True stories don’t tell the whole truth. Stories don’t have to be true. By including elements of the fantastic, you can get at the truth in a different way” —Salman Rushdie

“If you can explain it then it’s not magical realism”—Luis Leal, Mexican Critique

Midnight’s Children

The protagonist and narrator of the story is Saleem Sinai, born at the exact moment when India became an independent country. He was born with telepathic powers, so are the children born from 12am-1am on 15th August 1947. It’s the story of his trials and tribulations with post Independence India till Emergency.

Life of Pi

A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.


Despite being caught in her imaginative world, Amelie, a young waitress, decides to help people find happiness. Her quest to spread joy leads her on a journey where she finds true love.

100 Years of Solitude

The story of seven generations of the Buendía Family in the fictional town of Macondo cut off from the rest of the world. The founding patriarch of Macondo, leaves his hometown with family to find a better life and a new home. Gabriel García Márquez uses magic realism to depict how human beings deal with their self-created solitude.


  1. Some parts of your diary/journal are filled You see the line “I’ve finally found the one” on 12th December’s page.
  2. Everyone can only see things through other people’s eyes in their A more compassionate world in the making?
  3. Suddenly you start seeing numbers on everyone’s face. You figure out that it indicates the last time they had masturbated (or had a heartbreak). As a Psychologist how do you make the world a better place?
  4. Politically inspired story? Effects of demonetization on daily labourer who has certain “abilities”. Or of GST on an unregistered business(man) running on a small
  5. You see butterflies everytime someone smiles at at, after your dog’s death you haven’t seen them in a long time, a cute girl/boy in your class brings in
  6. Humans now bond/conceive through salsa. You’ve got two left feet, terrible sense of tune/rhythm and feel dancing is It’s all very hard at the beginning and some girls are grumpy. Then you meet Tracy.
  7. Tom has moved into a new home on a plot of land and discovers a mysterious jar under the The jar lights up when touched. What is it? And what does it do to the him?
  8. Write a magical realism piece about someone who can hold light in his/her How does he/she use this power?
  9. Write about the adventures of a child who is flying a kite when it suddenly soars higher into the sky and keeps on going up, taking the child with
  10. Write about an ordinary person who suddenly starts noticing little magical things showing up in his/her life–maybe messages in bottles, little fireworks, anonymous presents. What’s going on? .


References( Wiki, Summaries and Prompts 7,8,9,10 ) 1.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShzOBA2kINk 2.https://bookriot.com/2018/02/08/what-is-magical-realism/ 3.http://www.buzzbookstore.com/blog/2017/5/30/writing-prompts-from-magic-realism-bot 4.http://yeahwrite.co/tagged/magical%20realism%20prompt 5.https://writershenanigans.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/magical-realism-writing-prompts/ 6.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_realism


Devanshu Koyalkar devanshukoyalkar1@gmail.com Devanshukoyalkar.wordpress.com


Photo Courtesy: Rob Gonsalves. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/863213453547295241/


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