Maybe its common knowledge to everyone who actually knows something about this, or maybe its all wrong, but I was just now in the first chapters of Wizard and Crow by Ngugi wa Thiongo while listening to PJ Harvey‘s White Chalk and it struck me that the literature I remember from childhood was magical as in Grimm’s or the 5 Chinese Brothers or Little Black Sambo and that was my love for this form partly due to that? Was this maybe, though not inferior to, a route to, a link to, traditional narrative?
That’s the whole idea really, tell me if you agree.
In the meantime, my favourites of the genre (and there certainly seems to be debate about whether it exists) in no particular order:
One Hundred Years of Solitude: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The classic, the one everyone refers to, and in this case rightly so. Someone once said that it was enough that the classics existed: it wasn’t really necessary to read them. Not so. This is a great book. If you can’t find this Love in the Time of Cholera or Of Love and Other Demons will do in a pinch.
Paradise Motel: Eric McCormack
Canadian writer who can’t quite get the Scottish out of his bones, and a wonderful man to have a beer or two with, McCormack is somewhat Borgesian; he questions reality at every turn, and each answer is only another door. If you can’t find this, read Inspecting the Vaults, a short story collection that you might have to lie down after reading.
Famished Road: Ben Okri
I already wrote about this Booker prize winner. One of the best.
Winter’s Tale: Mark Helprin
God Who Begat a Jackal: Nega Mezlakia
This author, Canadian who immigrated from Ethiopia, had a bit of a scandal with his first book, a memoir, but this book proved his genuineness. Has a wonderful little part where the gods will only and always fight for the losing side which of course makes for an endless battle.
Arthur Rex: Thomas Berger
Anything with Isaac Sidel: Jerome Charyn
There is no one in the world who writes like Charyn. A cross between Kafka and Lewis Carroll his noirish adventures throughout Manhattan make for exhilarating reading punctuated with many “what?!!”s.