Thursday, August 01, 2013

August Public Talk at Silverfish Books

Title: "Revisiting Magic and Magical Realism in South America".
Venue: Silverfish Books, 28-1, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 228 4448 37
Time and Date: 5.30pm - 7.30pm on Saturday, 24th August 2013
Admission is free. All are welcomed.

We have been hearing about this 'magic realism' thing for quite a while now, basically in relation to One hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez and Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. What is it, anyway? Is is something real, or merely an affectation of Europeans and American academics who can only exoticise and romanticise that they cannot understand. Magic is Asian culture too, as it is African and South American. (Ask any Malaysian.) Our lives include magic and realism daily, and the two can co-exist quite seamlessly.

Fernando Rosa Baragül examines the phenomena from an anthropological view, and gives an interesting perspective, different from, but complementary to, those of literary criticism.

"Magical Realism" has often been associated with Latin American fiction (and Salman Rushdie a proponent). The conjunction of 'magic' and 'realism' is intriguing and thought-provoking. Although some South American authors like Vargas Llosa (whose work is not 'magical realism') refer to 'lo real maravilloso' (literally, the wondrous real), South American writers do not label themselves 'magical realists' (García Márquez is an example). The works of earlier authors, like Machado de Assis, in late nineteenth and early twentieth century, works were both realist and magical.

The speaker is a Brazilian anthropologist based in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. He has, before this, worked in the Caribbean, Cape Town, Kerala, and was until 1999 in Macau, China. He is also interested in Dutch-Afrikaans, Arabic, and Malay writings, besides Portuguese one, and the possible overlap between them.