Fantasy fiction is set in another world — or a different version of this world — in which magic and the supernatural are treated as realities. My chosen texts come from a specific subset of fantasy: magic realism. Alison Waller defines magic realism with admirable clarity: ‘In magic realism … impossible happenings are incorporated into a worldview that the characters — if not the reader — find natural or acceptable. . magic realism describes impossible elements as if they were of the same ontological quality as possible events’ (Waller, 2009: 21). The hybridity of magic realism means that it partakes of both ‘fantasy as a metaphoric mode and realism as a metonymic mode’ (Stephens, 1992: 248) — that is to say, it suggests parallels and resemblances (fantastic metaphor) at the same time as it presents aspects of the real world, ‘a slice of life’ (realist metonymy).
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