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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Divergent Dystopic Visions

Screen Shot 2018-01-21 at 11.30.26 AMNot Divergent divergent, but diverse, unexpected, small press books diverging from the post-apocalyptic formula of yesteryear: that’s what we’ve got for you today. The Marrow Thieves won both the Kirkus Prize and the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award, and has shown up on the year-end lists for Kirkus and School Library Journal — not bad for a Canadian publication almost entirely under the radar stateside. All the Wind in the World is Samantha Mabry’s sophomore effort after last year’s enticing A Fierce and Subtle Poison. It’s a quiet book in terms of buzz, although it had a strong showing out of the gate with 3 stars and a place on the NBA longlist; it also made Booklist‘s Editor’s Choice.

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Magical Realism

the-head-of-the-saint-coverA Fierce and Subtle PoisonMagical Realism is hot: It’s the label attached to last year’s Printz winner Bone Gap, and it’s been popping up all over the YA and MG scene for the past few years. This year, again, offers us a handful of books in the genre. I’ve read three so far that deserve to be in the awards speculation pool, and today I’m going to talk about two of them (the last one is a late fall pub so we’ll wait on that).

Magical Realism is realistic literature with fantastical or magical elements, but it’s something more, because that bare bones definition also covers a significant chunk of fantasy. If you extend the definition, two additional points are worth noting: first, the setting; and second, the way the magic is received. The top-billed magical realists are Latin American — Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Laura Esquivel, Isabel Allende — and their settings are Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Chile. And in their books, the magic is not something apart — compare this to, say, Stiefvater’s Raven Boys quartet, where they all know the magic is strange, and, well, magical. Instead, in magical realist texts, the magic heightens the mundane and becomes an expression of emotion, rather than something characters step back and try to understand.

One of the two titles I’m discussing today reads to me like classic magical realism — no surprise, as it bears a dedication to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and is a Brazilian work, originally published in Portuguese and now translated into English. The second straddles the fantasy/magical realism line, but feels closer in its roots to magical realism than fantasy, so I’m going with the label.

Alright, enough introduction, and on to the books.

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