Friday, September 26, 2008

Magical Realism: Skylight Confessions, by Alice Hoffman

Magic[al] realism--a kind of modern fiction in which fabulous and fantastical events are included in a narrative that otherwise maintains the 'reliable' tone of objective realistic report. (from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms).

If I were reading Skylight Confessions out loud, my voice would be hushed, almost whispery; my tone calm and measured with a insistent undertone of something about to happen. In words almost beyond the range of your ear, you would hear...

There were tales of rocks that appeared in the dark, of mysterious reefs whose only purpose seemed to be to sink ferries, of the drowned men he'd known who had never come back.

...stories within stories within stories; all overladen with myth and the memory of a fragrance...

He told of a tribe who lived on the other side of the water, in far-off Connecticut, who could sprout wings in the face of disaster.

...intimations, implications, foreshadowing...

They looked like normal people until the ship went down, or the fire raged, and then they suddenly revealed themselves. Only then did they manage their escape.

...transformations, unexpected flights...

Stranger still: the pears in the basket had become flat black stones. Before he could stop them the stones arose without being touched; they hurtled up through the air as though they'd been fired from a cannon...

...anger at what is; a seeking after of what might be. And loss. Loss in the past and loss about to make itself known...

When Blanca thought of her brother she most often remembered him standing on the roof of their house, arms thrown wide. Fearful and fearless. A stork, a stranger, a man desperate for flight.

Quotes from Skylight Confessions

3 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Great post! I'm going to have to look for this one at the library today. Thanks!

Erikka said...

What's interesting is that Alice Hoffman is a YA author and an adult novel writer. I read Incantation by her and I am now in line to read some of her adult novels.

Maybe I should add this one to my list too.

clairz said...

To tell the truth, Erikka, I enjoyed her YA novels even more.