Magical Realism: Background information when reading The Tiger's Wife

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The Tiger's Wife

A Novel

by Téa Obreht

The Tiger's Wife
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2011, 352 pages
    Nov 2011, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Magical Realism

The Tiger's Wife comes out of the magical realism tradition. Like the technique itself, the definition of magical realism is difficult to pin down, but most critics agree that it is a literary mode that "seizes the paradox of the union of opposites." In this way, writers are able to hold, as Obreht does, the real and the fantastic together so that both paradoxical elements are accepted in the same thought.

Though the idea of magical realism was originated in 1920s Germany by Franz Roh to describe post-expressionist art, the term lo real maravillso (magical realism), as applied to literature came out of Latin America in the late 1940s. The first writers to find literary success with this mode were Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges and Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who used the technique to meld European rationality with the Native American "magical" mentality. With this technique, they attempted to develop the pure Latin American novel.

Though some critics ...

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