Magic realism (or magical realism) is a literary genre in which magical elements appear in an otherwise realistic setting. As used today the term is broadly descriptive rather than critically rigorous. The term was initially used by German art critic Franz Roh to describe painting which demonstrated an altered reality, but was later used by Venezuelan Arturo Uslar-Pietri to describe the work of certain Latin American writers. The Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier (a friend of Uslar-Pietri) used the term "lo real maravilloso" (roughly "marvelous reality") in the prologue to his novel The Kingdom of this World (1949). Carpentier's conception was of a kind of heightened reality in which elements of the miraculous could appear…show more content… There is controversy regarding the term magical realism because it is seen as a too-limiting term imposed on a post-colonial nation by its previous rulers. Some also feel that what is considered ‘magic’ by the outside Anglo-American or “western” critic is not viewed the same way by the native writers.
This way of writing is based on the “rational view of reality” versus the “acceptance of the supernatural” (Moore). Magical realism is usually associated with contemporary Latin American fiction but it is also seen in the writings of authors from different countries (Lodge 114). The unexplained fantasy in these works is used to depict “historical convulsions and … wrenching personal upheavals” that can not be otherwise described adequately in a realistic fashion (Lodge 114). One of the best known magical realism novels is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. The best known magical realism short story author however, is Jorge Luis Borges. Although Latin American literature was predominantly written by males in the past, it is becoming more diverse now with the voices of females, homosexuals, and Jews.
One such voice is that of Mexican writer Laura Esquivel who wrote Como Agua Para Chocolate. First published in 1990, this novel has since been translated into thirty languages, won the American Booksellers Association’s ABBY award in 1994, and been made into a movie. The film version, with a