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51 Best Magical Realism Books

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The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgakov (Mar 19, 1996)
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The first complete, annotated English Translation of Mikhail Bulgakov's comic masterpiece.An audacious revision of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilate, The Master and Margarita is recognized as one of the essential classics of modern Russian literature. The novel's vision of Soviet life in the 1930s is so ferociously accurate that it could not ...
Red Russia
by T. A. Thompson (Nov 11, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
Among the many things Peter doesn’t know, he doesn’t know he’s an archetype, the Prince of Coins incarnate. He doesn’t know his fiancé is a fortune teller either. He doesn’t know Russian culture, politics, or language, but he does know American business. And he knows his fiancé speaks Russian. He thinks she can make him the new Tsar of the timber i...
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
A Novel
by Ruth Emmie Lang (Dec 04, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to t...
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
A Novel
by Haruki Murakami (Sep 01, 1998)
Goodreads Rating
Japan's most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's mis...
Recommended by
Brian Koppelman
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
A Novel (Vintage International)
by Haruki Murakami (Mar 02, 1993)
Goodreads Rating
'A narrative particle accelerator that zooms between Wild Turkey Whiskey and Bob Dylan, unicorn skulls and voracious librarians, John Coltrane and Lord Jim. Science fiction, detective story and post-modern manifesto all rolled into one rip-roaring novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the tour de force that expanded Haruki Murak...
Recommended by
Matt Mullenweg
Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Murakami (Jan 03, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is dr...
Recommended by
Brian Koppelman
The Hearing Trumpet
by Leonora Carrington (Feb 02, 2004)
Goodreads Rating
Leonora Carrington, the distinguished British-born Surrealist painter is also a writer of extraordinary imagination and charm. Exact Change launched a program of reprinting her fiction with what is perhaps her best loved book.The Hearing Trumpet is the story of 92-year-old Marian Leatherby, who is given the gift of a hearing trumpet only to discove...
Recommended by
Bjork
The Water Dancer
A Novel
by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Sep 24, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.So...
The Golem and the Jinni
A Novel (P.S.)
by Helene Wecker (Dec 31, 2013)
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Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in...
The Astonishing Color of After
by Emily X.R. Pan (Mar 19, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family ...
One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Feb 21, 2006)
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One of the most influential literary works of our time, One Hundred Years of Solitude remains a dazzling and original achievement by the masterful Gabriel García Márquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of ...
Garden Spells
A Novel (Waverly Family)
by Sarah Addison Allen (Apr 29, 2008)
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The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affe...
Sharks in the Time of Saviors
A Novel
by Kawai Strong Washburn (Mar 03, 2020)
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"Sharks in the Time of Saviors is the story of a family, a people, and a legend, all wrapped in one. Faith and grief, rage and love, this book pulses with all of it. Kawai Strong Washburn makes his debut with a wealth of talent and a true artist's eye." --Victor LaValle, author of The ChangelingIn 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation...
Recommended by
Bethanne Patrick
Sing, Unburied, Sing
A Novel
by Jesmyn Ward (May 08, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward.In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward give...
Recommended by
Barack Obama
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
A Novel
by Neil Gaiman (Jun 03, 2014)
Goodreads Rating
A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a...
Recommended by
Zoe KeatingAsher Wolf
Midnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie (Oct 17, 1995)
Goodreads Rating
Anyone who has spent time in the developing world will know that one of Bombay's claims to fame is the enormous film industry that churns out hundreds of musical fantasies each year. The other, of course, is native son Salman Rushdie -- less prolific, perhaps than Bollywood, but in his own way just as fantastical. Though Rushdie's novels lack the r...
Recommended by
Lisa Ling
The Snow Child
A Novel
by Eowyn Ivey (Nov 06, 2012)
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In this magical debut, a couple's lives are changed forever by the arrival of a little girl, wild and secretive, on their snowy doorstep. Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart -- he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from l...
The Sugar Queen
A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle)
by Sarah Addison Allen (Apr 14, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
Twenty-seven-year-old Josey is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season; she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle; and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother's house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats ...
Nothing to See Here
by Kevin Wilson (Oct 29, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Kevin Wilson’s best book yet—a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with remarkable and disturbing abilitiesLillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wa...
Recommended by
Ezra Klein
A Wild Sheep Chase
A Novel
by Haruki Murakami (Apr 09, 2002)
Goodreads Rating
His life was like a recurring nightmare: a train to nowhere. But an ordinary life has a way of taking an extraordinary turn. Add a girl whose ears are so exquisite that, when uncovered, they improve sex a thousand-fold, a runaway friend, a right-wing politico, an ovine-obsessed professor and a manic-depressive in a sheep outfit, implicate them in a...
Recommended by
Brian Koppelman
Chocolat
A Novel (A Vianne Rocher Novel)
by Joanne Harris (Jan 01, 2000)
Goodreads Rating
A timeless novel of a straitlaced village's awakening to joy and sensuality - every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere.Illuminating Peter Mayle's South of France with a touch of Laura Esquivel's magic realism, Chocolat is a ...
Like Water for Chocolate
A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies
by Laura Esquivel (Oct 01, 1995)
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Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic, po...
1Q84
by Haruki Murakami (Jan 22, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named ...
Recommended by
Adam Savage
Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Oct 05, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino...
Recommended by
Tendai Biti
Himself
A Novel
by Jess Kidd (Mar 14, 2017)
Goodreads Rating
"[A] fast-paced yarn that nimbly soars above the Irish crime fiction genre Kidd clearly knows very well." —New York Times Book Review“[A] supernaturally skillful debut.” —Vanity Fair“A delicious, gratifying and ageless story.” —New York Journal of BooksAbandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life t...
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Díaz (Sep 02, 2008)
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Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ—the...
Recommended by
Tim Ferriss
Nights at the Circus
by Angela Carter (Mar 04, 1986)
Goodreads Rating
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan...or all fake?Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearney's circus. She is also part woman, part swan. Jack Walser, an American journalist, is on a quest to discover the truth behind her identity. Dazzled by h...
Shame
A Novel
by Salman Rushdie (Mar 11, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
The novel that set the stage for his modern classic, The Satanic Verses, Shame is Salman Rushdie’s phantasmagoric epic of an unnamed country that is “not quite Pakistan.” In this dazzling tale of an ongoing duel between the families of two men–one a celebrated wager of war, the other a debauched lover of pleasure–Rushdie brilliantly portrays a worl...
Recommended by
Richa Chadha
The Night Tiger
A Novel
by Yangsze Choo (Jan 07, 2020)
Goodreads Rating
The Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club PickINSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“A sumptuous garden maze of a novel that immerses readers in a complex, vanished world.” —Kirkus (starred review)An utterly transporting novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, perfect for fans of Isabel Allende and Min Jin LeeQuick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck...
Recommended by
Ann Miura-Ko
Beloved
by Toni Morrison (Jun 08, 2004)
Goodreads Rating
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past.Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful f...
Exit West
A Novel
by Mohsin Hamid (Feb 27, 2018)
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In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, t...
Summer of the Mariposas
by Guadalupe Garcia McCalll (Oct 01, 2015)
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When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero's journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer's original tale. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel ...
The Famished Road
by Ben Okri (May 01, 1993)
Goodreads Rating
In the decade since it won the Booker Prize, Ben Okri's Famished Road has become a classic. Like Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children or Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, it combines brilliant narrative technique with a fresh vision to create an essential work of world literature.The narrator, Azaro, is an abiku, a spirit chil...
Recommended by
Helen Rosner
Blackberry Wine
A Novel
by Joanne Harris (Apr 24, 2001)
Goodreads Rating
Jay Mackintosh is trapped by memory in the old familiar landscape of his childhood, more enticing than the present, and to which he longs to return. A bottle of home-brewed wine left to him by a long vanished friend seems to provide both the key to an old mystery and a doorway into another world. As the unusual properties of the strange brew takes ...
The Weight of Feathers
A Novel
by Anna-Marie McLemore (Sep 15, 2015)
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The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. Lace Paloma may be new...
The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman
by Angela Carter (Mar 04, 1986)
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Desiderio, an employee of the city under a bizarre reality attack from Doctor Hoffman's mysterious machines, has fallen in love with Albertina, the Doctor's daughter. But Albertina, a beautiful woman made of glass, seems only to appear to him in his dreams. Meeting on his adventures a host of cannibals, centaurs and acrobats, Desiderio must battle ...
Alburquerque
A Novel
by Rudolfo Anaya (Feb 16, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
"Alburquerque is a rich and tempestuous book, full of love and compassion, the complex and exciting skullduggery of politics, and the age-old quest for roots, identity, family. . . . There is a marvelous tapestry of interwoven myth and magic that guides Anaya's characters' sensibilities, and is equally important in defining their feel of place. Abo...
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
by Karen Russell (Aug 14, 2007)
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In these ten glittering short stories, debut author Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here, wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns; a family makes its living wrestling alligators in a theme park; and little girls sail away on crab shells. Filled with stunning inventiveness and heart, St. Lucy’s Home f...
Bloodroot
by Amy Greene (Jan 04, 2011)
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Myra Lamb is a wild girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain. Her grandmother, Byrdie, protects her fiercely and passes down “the touch” that bewitches people and animals alike. But when John Odom tries to tame Myra, it sparks a shocking disaster, ripping lives apart. Bloodroot is the dark and riveting story o...
Sourdough
or, Lois and Her Adventures in the Underground Market
by Robin Sloan (Sep 18, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread. Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive.  ...
The Trees
by Ali Shaw (Sep 08, 2016)
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There came an elastic aftershock of creaks and groans and then, softly softly, a chinking shower of rubbled cement. Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene. Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins…There is no warning. No chance to prepare.They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ...
The Satanic Verses
A Novel
by Salman Rushdie (Mar 11, 2008)
Goodreads Rating
One of the most controversial and acclaimed novels ever written, The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdies best-known and most galvanizing book. Set in a modern world filled with both mayhem and miracles, the story begins with a bang: the terrorist bombing of a London-bound jet in midflight. Two Indian actors of opposing sensibilities fall to earth, tr...
Recommended by
Susan J. Fowler
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
by Helen Oyeyemi (Mar 07, 2017)
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The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In “Books and Roses” one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers’ fates. In “Is Your Blood as Red as This?” an unlikely key opens the heart o...
The Book of Speculation
A Novel
by Erika Swyler (May 31, 2016)
Goodreads Rating
A sweeping and captivating debut novel about a young librarian who is sent a mysterious old book, inscribed with his grandmother's name. What is the book's connection to his family?Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. H...
White is for Witching
by Helen Oyeyemi (Feb 04, 2014)
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Winner of the Somerset Maugham AwardOne of Granta’s Best Young British NovelistsFrom the acclaimed author of Boy, Snow, BirdThere’s something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it’s been home to four generations of Silver women—Anna, Jennifer, ...
Madeleine Is Sleeping
by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum (Nov 01, 2005)
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When a girl falls into a deep and impenetrable sleep, the borders between her provincial French village and the peculiar, beguiling realm of her dreams begin to disappear: A fat woman sprouts delicate wings and takes flight; a failed photographer stumbles into the role of pornographer; a beautiful young wife grows to resemble her husband's viol. An...
Recommended by
Celeste Ng
Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune
by Roselle Lim (Jun 11, 2019)
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At the news of her mother's death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn't spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco's Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses fa...
The Tiger's Wife
A Novel
by Téa Obreht (Nov 01, 2011)
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In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of al...
Recommended by
Caterina Fake
The Vanishing Act
A Novel
by Mette Jakobsen (Sep 17, 2012)
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On a small snow-covered island—so tiny that it can't be found on any map—lives twelve-year-old Minou, her philosopher Papa (a descendent of Descartes), Boxman the magician, and a clever dog called No-Name. A year earlier Minou's mother left the house wearing her best shoes and carrying a large black umbrella. She never returned.One morning Minou fi...
Swamplandia!
by Karen Russell (Jul 26, 2011)
Goodreads Rating
The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline—think Buddenbrooks set in the Florida Everglades—and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, is swiftly being encroached upon by a sophisticated competitor known as the "World of Darkness." Ava, a resourceful but terrified twelve-year-old, must manage seventy gators and t...
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
by Aimee Bender (Apr 19, 2011)
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The wondrous Aimee Bender conjures the lush and moving story of a girl whose magical gift is really a devastating curse.On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical ...