LitPicks Book Reviews—February 2008

Theme—Magical Realism
A literary device that uses a pretense of realism while weaving in fantastic and supernatural events. The magic blends seamlessly with the natural world to reveal life's wondrous possibilities. These stories use magical realism—at times with humorous, but always compelling, effect.
 
Labels: A Lighter Touch

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Garden Spells
Sarah Addison Allen, 2007
304 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
February 2008

This is a sweet book—pretty thin, even predictable. But if you're worn down by tackling dense, darker works, this may be the tonic you need.

Garden Spells offers an easy introduction to magical realism. Claire Waverly has a secret garden in which she grows flowers and herbs for her catering business. Of course, like all best kept secrets, everyone in town knows about the garden—it's legendary—though few have ever stepped foot inside.

 

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The House of the Spirits
Isabel Allende, 1985
433 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
February 2008

Having just re-read this marvelous book after 18 years, I'd forgotten how much I liked it. Three generations of women populate the story and the eponymous "house of the spirits"—they make for fascinating and compelling characters.

The story begins with the death of the beautiful and unearthly green-haired Rosa, the only woman in the book whose name refers to a color. Her sister Clara (clear) eventually marries Rosa's fiance, Esteban Trueba—thereby beginning the line of women whose names signifiy white, Blanca and Alba.
 
Labels: Great Works

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One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1970
417 pp.

By Molly Lundquist
February 2008

This book is the granddaddy of magical realism. Written 40 years ago, it was recognized immediately as a classic, one of the great works of all time. So buckle your seat belts—because you're in for a ride.

Marquez has created an epic re-imagining of the genesis of life. The book fairly teems with...well, everything under the sun—which is, in fact, a major theme: the richness, amazing variety, fecundity and mystery of all of life under the sun.
 

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