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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

Chapter 19 - Magic and the Literary Market

from Part III - Application


This chapter examines the role of magical realism in the literary marketplace with regard to questions of aestheticism, commodification, escapism and exoticism. It draws on literary texts (Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, Daisy Johnson’s Everything Under and Ali Shaw’s The Girl with Glass Feet) together with their paratexts (such as websites, author comments and interviews, publicity material and reviews) and argues that the appeal of magical realism as a commercial label must also be taken into account when we speak about the cultural work performed by this mode. This is not in order to evaluate and judge specific texts in comparison with others, but because readers and their predilections, and the appeal of what is often called 'fabulist narration' in the description of magical realist books, decisively influence the effect of magical realist literature.