9 Magical Realism Books To Enchant and Delight You

Fantasy doesn't have to take place in a strange new world or focus on the lives of witches and werewolves in order to be great. Works of magical realism blend magic with everyday life, making the characters more relatable and blurring the line between the fantastical and the ordinary. The nine books on this list are sure to capture your imagination and give you a new perspective on the world around you. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

video play icon

9 Magical Realism Books To Enchant and Delight You

Title Author
1. Hugo & Rose Bridget Foley
2. The Forbidden Garden Ellen Herrick
3. The Unfinished World and Other Stories Amber Sparks
4. A Green and Ancient Light Frederic S. Durbin
5. The Lost Art of Letter Writing Menna van Praag
6. The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty Amanda Filipacchi
7. The Conjurer and Other Azorean Tales Darrell Kastin
8. The Rathbones Janice Clark
9. The Gloaming Kirsty Logan

8 Great Magical Realism Films

  1. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
  2. Birdman (2014)
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
  4. Hugo (2011)
  5. Life of Pi (2012)
  6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  7. Big Fish (2003)
  8. Amélie (2001)

What is Magical Realism?

In Depth

What could make the drama of the real world more interesting? Only a touch of magic. For readers who love stories about a world slightly more fantastical than our own, there's no shortage of great stories about small miracles, strange wonders, and out-of-the-ordinary occurrences. If you're a fan of works of magical realism that effortlessly combine the everyday with the extraordinary, here, in no particular order, are a few books that are guaranteed to fit the bill.

In the #1 slot is Bridget Foley's "Hugo and Rose." Since childhood, Rose has found an escape from daily life in the world of her dreams. There, a boy named Hugo joins her on each new adventure, providing the support she needs to cope with her reality. Now, as an adult, Rose has found Hugo in waking life. But their chance meeting comes with more questions than answers. How did they get here, and what exactly is this dream universe they've been sharing for decades?

For #2, we get "The Forbidden Garden" by Ellen Herrick. Sorrel is a master gardener who loves using her green thumb to create beauty around her. When a rare opportunity comes up for her to restore an Elizabethan garden on a giant country estate, she leaps at the chance. Once there, however, she's faced with the reality of a strange, suspicious family with a dark, secretive past.

Once there, however, she's faced with the reality of a strange, suspicious family with a dark, secretive past.

At #3 is "The Unfinished World" by Amber Sparks. In this short story collection, shy men and women connect with each other with some help from creatures of legend and myth. From two grief-stricken siblings who use taxidermy to mourn their parents to a young couple burdened by the mystery of their origins, these tales are sure to bring the sweetness and strangeness of life into full view.

The #4 spot belongs to Frederic S. Durbin's "A Green and Ancient Light." In a parallel universe, a young boy escapes the ravages of World War II by going to spend the summer with his grandmother in a peaceful seaside village. But all is not well, especially after a mysterious old friend shows up and starts clueing the boy into the ancient mysteries of his grandmother's home. With the world waging the ultimate battle between good and evil, it's up to all of them to stand strong against the enemy at their gates.

For #5 we have "The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Menna van Praag. Clara runs a small stationery shop in Cambridge. There, despite the stronghold of the digital world, she encourages visitors to physically write down what they truly wish to say to the people in their lives. When she comes across a packet of correspondence between wartime lovers, she decides to look deeper, finding herself lost in the middle of an epic love story from decades past.

There, despite the stronghold of the digital world, she encourages visitors to physically write down what they truly wish to say to the people in their lives.

Coming in at #6 is "The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty" by Amanda Filipacchi. Barb and Lily are two best friends who can't accept their physical appearances. Classically beautiful Barb hates the attention she receives just because of the way she looks, while talented, ordinary-looking Lily wishes she looked more like Barb. When a killer comes on the scene, the friends have to band together to protect themselves from being seen by the wrong eyes.

At #7 is Darrell Kastin's "The Conjurer." In this volume of short stories, enchanted inhabitants of the Azorean islands use small acts of magic to escape the painful realities of normal life. From a woman with supernatural empathetic powers to an enchanted dress that can turn heads and steal hearts, these eighteen fantastical tales truly have something for everyone.

For #8 we get Janice Clark's "The Rathbones." A New England whaling family laid to ruin. A mysterious, broken-down mansion. A girl and her uncle just trying to make ends meet. When a stranger comes to their door, will they finally be forced to come to terms with their complicated legacy, or will they end up taking a treacherous journey from which they might never return? This lively seafaring tale deftly mixes family drama with enchanting descriptions of a life lived at sea.

A New England whaling family laid to ruin.

Finally, at #9, we have Kirsty Logan's "The Gloaming." Mara can't escape the sea's siren call. Her destiny is to be turned to stone and remain a fixture on her magical island. She's made her peace with it, but the island itself has other plans for Mara and her family. Years later, with the help of a new, fascinating friend, the young woman is able to reclaim her life in incredible, unexpected ways.