Help Nancy Pearl Name a New Genre

Nancy Pearl requests her listeners assistance on her most recent edition of NPR Pearl's Picks "Under the Radar"...

"I only recently realized that many of the works of fiction that I most enjoy are those that push genre boundaries. I especially like fiction that is mostly realistic, but every once in a while zigs confidently into fantasy. We tend to call such works "magical realism" when they're written by South American or Indian or Latin American writers — think Jorge Luis Borges' short stories, Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits, or Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. But in fact, these great works are being written by authors of all countries. Since the books themselves can be mainstream fiction, mysteries, Westerns or fantasy (or any mixture thereof), I'd love to come up with a one- or two- or possibly three-word label for such works that captures their essence (something other than "unclassifiable"), but so far I've drawn a blank. Anyone care to help? Have at it — I'll give you some examples of books that fit what I have in mind — Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker, Under Heaven or The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke — and you find the best descriptor. Okay? You can send me your suggestions at nancy@nancypearl.com."

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Well...

I don't know what's wrong with just using "magical realism"

I agree- why create another

I agree- why create another label if there is one that already fits?

I used "magical realism" once to describe a book by an American

and was told that I couldn't use it... seriously.. someone told me that you can't use that term for "anglo" authors...

so maybe "bitextual"?

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Is she saying that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell isn't fantasy?

And why come up with a new name for magical realism if there's already one that works fine?

I've never heard that term before

Everyone I know calls it Urban Fantasy. Is "magical realism" an American term?

From wikipedia (b/c it was easiest):

...In the English speaking world, major authors include British Indian writer Salman Rushdie, African American novelist Toni Morrison, English author Louis de Bernières and English feminist writer Angela Carter....For a detailed list of authors and works considered magical realist please see Category:Magic realism novels
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_realism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Magic_realism_novels

Urban Fantasy vs Magical Realism

Urban fantasy is dark, gritty, modern, and has an element of "a fantasy world impinges on the real world". Usually the fantasy world is somehow related to the fey, fairytales, or mythology. Traditional witches, wizards, djinn, etc... are also common elements. People often move from one world to the other, in secret, or have some aspect of their nature that comes from the fantasy world. In context, the Urban Fantasy world is "really there".

Magical realism is more typically a reinterpretation or re-imagining of the "real world" through some mystical or magical lens. Nobody specifically has magical powers from their fairy-queen mother; if they have a magical ability it is simply something unknown and unknowable that reveals an aspect of the story. Magical Realism is more like surreal painting. It is a WAY to tell a story about people, not a world that exists on its own.

To my way of thinking, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell is pure fantasy, neither Urban Fantasy (it is an alternate history, not the real modern world) nor magical realism (the magic isn't simply an alternate way of viewing the world; magic is real and people "work" it).

Very useful

Magical realism is more typically a reinterpretation or re-imagining of the "real world" through some mystical or magical lens. Nobody specifically has magical powers from their fairy-queen mother; if they have a magical ability it is simply something unknown and unknowable that reveals an aspect of the story.....

Genre

This is the most interesting post I've seen here in a while.

I suggest either "Hyporealism" or "Hypofantasy" - depends on your point of view, of course. (and there's the rub, eh?)

Hypo-: Prefix meaning "low, under, beneath, down, below normal" as in hypocalcemia (low calcium in the blood), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyposensitivity. The opposite of hypo- is hyper-.

See also: Sub-.

link
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=3854

Genre

surrealism

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