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Magical Realism 101 FigureMagical Realism 101 Figure

Magical Realism 101

Curated by Joe Meno

About the Curator
Joe Meno is the bestselling author of seven novels and two short story collections including “Marvel and a Wonder,” “Hairstyles of the Damned,” and “The Boy Detective Fails.”

About the Folio

Magical realism first appeared following World War I, as a way to explore the uncertainty that suddenly gripped the world. Beginning in Europe in the 1920s and later making its way around the globe, from Latin America to the United States to Japan, this expressive genre of storytelling borrows fantastic elements from folktales and myth, all while confronting very real conflicts. Magical realism offers us the opportunity to appreciate the unknown and find a sense of possibility in the midst of our own uncertainty.

Book selections

Joe Meno book recommendations - Fable

The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka

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The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis

By Franz Kafka
Although magical realism did not appear as a critical term until 1925, many credit the influence of Franz Kakfa’s imaginative, unsettling stories on the development of the genre, bringing together a sense of the absurd and tragic. In 1915, Kakfa published the tale of a young man who wakes to find himself turned into a gigantic cockroach, a bizarre transformation that resists interpretation. Is it a story about someone facing their mortality or simply an allegory about a man who has succumbed to becoming an office drone? In this and other similarly unnerving stories, Kafka became one of the first writers to give a shape to the new sense of unpredictability that informed twentieth century life.

Joe Meno

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