Thursday, July 13, 2006

Magic Fiction (continued)

I used the expression ‘Magic Fiction’ as a sort of obverse of a more common expression: 'Magic Realism'. I think the greatest exponent of the latter is Salman Rushdie. Giving real world historic and contemporary events a magic quality that only fiction can accomplish.

But then, I recently read ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ which I consider to be a major work of something quite different from Magic Realism. Somewhere in this massive book (a passage I can never re-find!) is a section about fiction itself being used as a magic weapon in a war. And I saw magic not as the usual ‘occult’ or ‘mysticism’ or ‘fantastical’ or a book of spells like anything ending –omicon. It was fiction magic … magic fiction. This is what I’m trying to tease out as a discrete and new element in fiction. Nothing weird, nothing paranormal, nothing thaumaturgical. Perhaps (hopefully) a New Magic that is quite rational.

This Road to Damascus was coupled and 'inspired' by my own work on "dream sickness" in my 2005/6 novels, and all the paradoxes that that experience created reinforced my desire to use fiction as a battle against, say, ‘bird flew’.

It’s worked so far!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

jonathan strange.. i love that book :)..