Books in Pairs: Magical Realism
Updated: Nov 24, 2022
If you liked: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman you might like: Strange Creatures by Phoebe North Two adult protagonists retelling the tales of their troubled childhood in which they fled into a paracostic shadow-world to escape a traumatic situation.
If you liked: Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter you might like: Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer Two novels written in alternative format from a highly unique point of view, about illness, body and grief. The narrator in both GITHWF (grief personified) and MOOSB (cancer personified) take the voice of Ted Hughes Crow.
If you liked: Everything Under by Daisy Johnson you might like: Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi Magical realism taking inspiration from dark European fairytales to tell a story of a "mundane" yet complex domestic situation.
If you liked: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley you might like: Challenger Deep by Neal Schusterman Imaginative but heartfelt stories that use fantasy element to explore the inner world of teenagers with life-changing illnesses.
If you liked: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton you might like: When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore Magical realism set in small towns about being different and feeling like an outsider. Both written in highly lyrical prose that is art in its own right.
If you liked:The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan you might like: King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callendar Tear-jerking magical realism on grief, about teens and children who believe their deceased loved-one has changed into an animal upon death. Both also happen to feature themes of immigration, belonging and prejudice.
If you liked: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby you might like: We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lunde or: Beasts of Extraordinary Cicumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang Small town cosy magical realism featuring coming of age stories with just a small touch of magic.
If you liked: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power Or: If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley Small town claustrophobic magical realism, using magical elements to express the real-life horrors of domestic abuse.
If you liked: The Harpy by Megan Hunter you might like: Chouette by Claire Oshetsky Two modern fairytales about domestic life (being a wife and being a mother) with a magical element of a bird throughout.
If you liked: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel you might like: The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan Although not similar in plot at all, both capture that feeling of melancholic hope amids a world in ruins, that I adored so much.
If you liked: Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden you might like: Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejide Literary fiction with a dash of magical realism, following characters coming to terms with themes of life, death and eternity, helped by a "death-companion". (Death personified as a working-class black woman, vs a ghost that haunts the trunk of a Plymouth Belvedere respectively). Both authors are poets as well, leading to works that brim with liminality in both themes and style.
If you liked: A Constellation of Roses by Maria Asebedo you might like: Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece Characters healing from trauma in a small-town setting, by the helps of tranquil forests and magical cakes...
If you liked: Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy you might like: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Emmie Ruth Lang Two deeply moving, characterdriven novels focussing on vagarious protagonists who've converted a tragic past into a fascination for wolves. The former leans towards the tragedy-side, whereas the latter takes a more whimsical and hopeful tone.