Magic Realism's Spell Broken?

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El boom has gone el bust. The Latin American literary movement that dawned in the 1960s with writers like Mario Vargas Llosa (YO-sah) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez has, in the last decade, been challenged by a new generation of writers whose first person fiction eschews the folklore in favor of something grittier.

Gone are the levitating beauties, the flurries of butterflies, and the rainstorms that lasted for four years, eleven months, and two days. In their place: true life renderings of all the complexities and contradictions of modern Latin America. If magical realism launched its authors, it also transformed the Western Hemisphere into a sleepy hothouse of siestas and the supernatural. Now, this new crop of writers says, it’s time to reclaim the popular imagination, for reality’s sake.


Edmundo Paz Soldan, author, “The Matter of Desire” and assistant professor of literature at Cornell University.