- "what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe".
A characteristic of magic realism is the way a novel might start with a mundane, even boring situation. So, in Mikhail Bulgakov's short story Diaboliad, we find the central character sitting at an office in a typical Soviet organisation:
- "Comrade Korotkov was working solidly in the permanent post of Chief Clerk...".
Gradually things start to go wrong... And before long, the events seem quite unbelievable. Yet, underneath, some accurate truths about Russia in the 1920s are strongly hinted.
The genre has been applied to other art forms, but it is mostly used about fictional literature.
- Strecher, Matthew C. 1999. Magical realism and the search for identity in the fiction of Murakami Haruki. Journal of Japanese Studies. 25, p267.
- Faris, Wendy B. and Lois Parkinson Zamora. Introduction to magical realism: theory, history, community, pp. 3-4.
- Angel Flores, qtd. in Simpkins, Scott (1988), "Magical strategies: the supplement of realism", Twentieth Century Literature, 34 (2): 140–154, p. 142
- Bulgakov, Mikhail  2010. Diaboliad and other stories. transl. Hugh Aplin, Oneworld Classics. ISBN 978-1-84749-153-4