Magical Realism

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#41
magical realism is definitely not fantasy
I agree with you. Magic Realism is not Fantasy. The idea of this genre is not to present magic as real but realty as a bit magical. In fact, it tends to portray very realistic scenarios where suddenly something implausible happens. Very, vey far away from Fantasy literature.
García Marquez has written many other wonderful books but if One Hundred Years Solitude hasn't done it for you, then I don't think you will enjoy his other work.

As for Borges his work is far too intellectual to be considered fantasy.
I read The Aleph twice. First time I felt I had quite a number of "loose ends" Borges can be puzzling. I like puzzles, regardless of how bad I am at it.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#42
I agree with you. Magic Realism is not Fantasy. The idea of this genre is not to present magic as real but realty as a bit magical. In fact, it tends to portray very realistic scenarios where suddenly something implausible happens. Very, vey far away from Fantasy literature.
That's my understanding of Magical Realism, a rational acceptance of the unexplained, chance meetings, strange coincidences, weird synchronicity... things that only very rarely happen to all of us in real life. My problem with Magical Realism as a subgenre, is that it comes off as very snobbish and way too exclusive. There are elements of Magical Realism all across literature, even Fantasy Lit.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#43
My problem with Magical Realism as a subgenre, is that it comes off as very snobbish
I see what you mean. This genre is not for everyone, some find it aloof other infantile. MR saw a boom in the 60s-70s among iberoamerican writers and this genre was used as a way of conveying the ugly and crude reality of those regimes under which these authors lived in. Most likely in an atempt of distancing themselves from the hardship of pure realism into something more embellished by magic..
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#44
García Marquez has written many other wonderful books but if One Hundred Years Solitude hasn't done it for you, then I don't think you will enjoy his other work.
Does anyone know books by other authors that might be similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude? I'm looking for some books to add to my to-avoid list and I think anything similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude wouldn't interest me.

Magic realism seems like a very broad genre so I'm not ready to reject it yet. Marquez and Borges both write magical realism but yet they couldn't be more different. I mean the former puts the focus almost entirely on characters and then characterization doesn't even seem to cross the latter's mind. I like Borges better because his work is just so puzzling and hard to figure out though I don't understand the majority of the references he uses and I feel I too often have to have a dictionary by my side when reading his stories. His vocabulary is ridiculous.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#45
Does anyone know books by other authors that might be similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude? I'm looking for some books to add to my to-avoid list and I think anything similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude wouldn't interest me.

Magic realism seems like a very broad genre so I'm not ready to reject it yet. Marquez and Borges both write magical realism but yet they couldn't be more different. I mean the former puts the focus almost entirely on characters and then characterization doesn't even seem to cross the latter's mind. I like Borges better because his work is just so puzzling and hard to figure out though I don't understand the majority of the references he uses and I feel I too often have to have a dictionary by my side when reading his stories. His vocabulary is ridiculous.

If you want a more accessible, and a more American bent on Magical Realism, give Michael Chabon a try. Both Gentlemen of the Road, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union, have MR to some extent... though I would not categorize either as MR fiction.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#46
Does anyone know books by other authors that might be similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude? I'm looking for some books to add to my to-avoid list and I think anything similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude wouldn't interest me.
Well, this is easy enough. Stay clear from Mario Vargas Llosa, Juan Rulfo, Isabel Allende and Carlos Fuentes for example.
I read a while ago The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Czech writer Milan Kundera. He is supposed to be into MR. The book was about the "eternal returning" and it did my head in... :dead:
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#47
I read a while ago The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Czech writer Milan Kundera. He is supposed to be into MR. The book was about the "eternal returning" and it did my head in... :dead:
What do you mean by that exactly? Did you like it?
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#48
What do you mean by that exactly? Did you like it?
Well, not really. I came across Kundera after having read MR by Iberoamerican authors and my expectations about this book were really off.
The premise of the eternal returning is introduced in the story by four imaginative characters (if I remember well)who represent four philosophical problems/conflicts of our existence. The background is Prague'68, which for me was the most interesting part. I didn't engage with the characters nor with their respective relationships, and definitely not with their philosophical/emotional arguments. When I'm in the mood of confusing myself, I pick Borges: he is a puzzling joy!
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#49
Well, not really. I came across Kundera after having read MR by Iberoamerican authors and my expectations about this book were really off.
The premise of the eternal returning is introduced in the story by four imaginative characters (if I remember well)who represent four philosophical problems/conflicts of our existence. The background is Prague'68, which for me was the most interesting part. I didn't engage with the characters nor with their respective relationships, and definitely not with their philosophical/emotional arguments. When I'm in the mood of confusing myself, I pick Borges: he is a puzzling joy!
Ah, I see. I couldn't figure out what you meant with "it did my head in". I've read the Unbearable Lightness of Being some years ago and although it was certainly thought-provoking (and sometimes shocking to adolescent me), I didn't particularly like the book at the time though. However, as the years went by, it grew on me. Kundera's challenge of the eternal recurrence theme that Nietzsche posited appeals to me. Although I have not much in common with Tomas, Sabine, Teresa and the others, I can at
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#50
Ah, I see. I couldn't figure out what you meant with "it did my head in". I've read the Unbearable Lightness of Being some years ago and although it was certainly thought-provoking (and sometimes shocking to adolescent me), I didn't particularly like the book at the time though. However, as the years went by, it grew on me. Kundera's challenge of the eternal recurrence theme that Nietzsche posited appeals to me. Although I have not much in common with Tomas, Sabine, Teresa and the others, I can at
Well, if Nietzsche's premise of eternal returning along the role of superhuman appeals to you, you might be tempted to pick something up by Borges, perhaps The Circular Time? a head spinning read for sure...:)
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#51
Well, if Nietzsche's premise of eternal returning along the role of superhuman appeals to you, you might be tempted to pick something up by Borges, perhaps The Circular Time? a head spinning read for sure...:)
Well, actually it is Kundera's rejection of Nietzsche's eternal returning premise that appeals to me. Although I initially liked Nietzsche as an adolescent (during my Sturm und Drang phase let's say), most of his ideas now seem pretty ludicrous to me. During my university years as a history student Nietzsche's idea of circular time was often referenced as a prime example of a-historic reasoning (although this has often struck me as an anachronism, as during that time historians themselves were often big fans of the eternal returning theme).

Anyways, it is Kundera's challenge of Nietzsche's ideas, in that everything in life only occurs once, that holds appeal to me. Live life to it's fullest. Live light.
 
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Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#52
Well, actually it is Kundera's rejection of Nietzsche's eternal returning premise that appeals to me
Well, you’ve got me thinking there…
I’m trying to remember the argumentative line in the book but it has been a while…
Your comment of Kundera’s rejection of Nietzsche would mean that I completely misinterpreted Kundera’s view: kind of embarrassing I must say!
The way I understood it at the time (and I’m not saying I’m right) it was precisely because of the acceptance of circular time, it would allow us, in fact, it would demand from us, to live our lives to its fullest, to rise above all conventions and corseted moral principles in order to keep improving our future selves. The principle of Einmal ist Keinmal, if only happens once, it is as it hadn't happened at all.
Never mind, probably I should stick to Groundhog Day type of discussions…:confused:
 

GiovanniDeFeo

Has Danced with Dragons
#53
Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children... MR and yet a tad closer to fantasy in my opinion, for several reasons. Rushdie writes MR from an anglo-indian prospective. Quite interesting, I think. Also, The Enchantress of Florence was amazing too...
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#54
Well, you’ve got me thinking there…
I’m trying to remember the argumentative line in the book but it has been a while…
Your comment of Kundera’s rejection of Nietzsche would mean that I completely misinterpreted Kundera’s view: kind of embarrassing I must say!
The way I understood it at the time (and I’m not saying I’m right) it was precisely because of the acceptance of circular time, it would allow us, in fact, it would demand from us, to live our lives to its fullest, to rise above all conventions and corseted moral principles in order to keep improving our future selves. The principle of Einmal ist Keinmal, if only happens once, it is as it hadn't happened at all.
Never mind, probably I should stick to Groundhog Day type of discussions…:confused:
Don't sideline yourself so easily. You strike close to the mark.

Nietzsche poses that as time is cyclical, one has to go forth with the knowledge that it has to be lived again and again, world without end. He says this can be a great weight on a person, although with the proper mindset -through philosophy- one can learn how to love and embrace this fate (amor fati). Nietzsche argues that because of the cyclical nature of time, one should always strife to live a good life, thereby giving your life meaning.

Kundera on the other hand rejects the idea of cyclical time. Conversely to Nietzsche's weightiness of life, life in Kundera's view is light; it has no weight. As your actions and decisions only occur once, you cannot compare the outcomes of them like you'd be able to if time were cyclical. You can never truly know if your past actions or decisions were correct, so you cannot be responsible or accountable for the outcome of them, nor can you be judged for them. You live your life once; einmal ist keinmal. This may at first seem awesome. No responsiblities, no accountability, no judgement; no meaning. The problem is that people -humans- like their lives to have meaning. The idea of life without meaning is unbearable for most of us, thus; The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The characters in Kundera's book struggle with this lightness in different ways. Some agree with Kundera that it's inevitably unbearable (like Tomas), others, like Sabine, revel in the sweetness of the lightness of being.

Hmm, this whole post turned out to be a bit contrived. Please realize that these conclusions are not wholly my own, but were for the most part instilled in me during university lectures and discussions on this topic with people that are way smarter than I am.

By the way, do you remember the part where Tomas urinated in the sink of one of his one-night-stands? I guffawed when I read that part. It's described as if Tomas thought it was the most normal thing to do. Funny stuff.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#55
Don't sideline yourself so easily. You strike close to the mark.

Nietzsche poses that as time is cyclical, one has to go forth with the knowledge that it has to be lived again and again, world without end. He says this can be a great weight on a person, although with the proper mindset -through philosophy- one can learn how to love and embrace this fate (amor fati). Nietzsche argues that because of the cyclical nature of time, one should always strife to live a good life, thereby giving your life meaning.

Kundera on the other hand rejects the idea of cyclical time. Conversely to Nietzsche's weightiness of life, life in Kundera's view is light; it has no weight. As your actions and decisions only occur once, you cannot compare the outcomes of them like you'd be able to if time were cyclical. You can never truly know if your past actions or decisions were correct, so you cannot be responsible or accountable for the outcome of them, nor can you be judged for them. You live your life once; einmal ist keinmal. This may at first seem awesome. No responsiblities, no accountability, no judgement; no meaning. The problem is that people -humans- like their lives to have meaning. The idea of life without meaning is unbearable for most of us, thus; The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The characters in Kundera's book struggle with this lightness in different ways. Some agree with Kundera that it's inevitably unbearable (like Tomas), others, like Sabine, revel in the sweetness of the lightness of being.

Hmm, this whole post turned out to be a bit contrived. Please realize that these conclusions are not wholly my own, but were for the most part instilled in me during university lectures and discussions on this topic with people that are way smarter than I am.

By the way, do you remember the part where Tomas urinated in the sink of one of his one-night-stands? I guffawed when I read that part. It's described as if Tomas thought it was the most normal thing to do. Funny stuff.
Thank you very much for the clarification! 12 years after finishing the book, I finally cracked it, well you did for me. Good God, it seems as if I had read it in czech!
I don’t recall Tomas’ urinating episode but I remember the whole bowler hat submissive symbology business…
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#56
Well, actually it is Kundera's rejection of Nietzsche's eternal returning premise that appeals to me. Although I initially liked Nietzsche as an adolescent (during my Sturm und Drang phase let's say), most of his ideas now seem pretty ludicrous to me. During my university years as a history student Nietzsche's idea of circular time was often referenced as a prime example of a-historic reasoning (although this has often struck me as an anachronism, as during that time historians themselves were often big fans of the eternal returning theme).

Anyways, it is Kundera's challenge of Nietzsche's ideas, in that everything in life only occurs once, that holds appeal to me. Live life to it's fullest. Live light.

The romantic in me agrees with you. The other me that reads too many physics and cosmology books isn't nearly so certain.
If Nietzsche, and his ilk are correct, it sort of robs life of all its serendipitous fucketyfuckfuck.:eek:
 

GiovanniDeFeo

Has Danced with Dragons
#57
It may sound absurd but I didn't finish Kundera's book because.... of the death of the dog (Tomas' I think). I could not bear it, quite simply. The idea of Eternal Recurrence is older than Nietzsche of course, it goes back to the Epicureans, and even further back. There is a terrific and terrible story by Cortazar about it, but I wouldn't know the title...
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#58
There is a terrific and terrible story by Cortazar about it, but I wouldn't know the title...
Could it be A Yellow flower or maybe The Night Face Up? Both short stories deal with the concept of Eternal Recurrence...
 

GiovanniDeFeo

Has Danced with Dragons
#59
I don't remember those (in Italy there still isn't a complete collection of Cortazar stories, something I find maddening). It's the story of a man who finds his reincarnation in a boy who is basically him.... until the boy dies. Then he understand he will never been born again, that his life is the one that he is living right now and there will be no other.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#60
t's the story of a man who finds his reincarnation in a boy who is basically him.... until the boy dies. Then he understand he will never been born again, that his life is the one that he is living right now and there will be no other.
Only beauty remains... That is indeed A Yellow Flower. Cortazar is not widely translated. I'm lucky I can read him in Spanish.