Best of
Magical-Realism

2001

The Gryphon: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Is Rediscovered


Nick Bantock - 2001
    It's odd stuff. I'm trying to decide if I've encountered an elaborate fiction, or a series of events that, if true, cast doubt over any concept of reality I've ever held.--MatthewThe correspondence of Griffin Moss and Sabine Strohem, at turns enigmatic, sumptuous, and romantic, reveals dangerous undercurrents and strange forces at work in the universe. These powers have only grown stronger with the couple's disappearance. Nothing is heard from them for quite some time, until Sabine asks Matthew Sedon, a young archaeologist working in Egypt, for help. As Matthew is reluctantly drawn into the intrigue, he finds encouragement from his strong-willed girlfriend, Isabella de Reims. Miles away in Paris, Isabella struggles with haunting glimpses of mythic landscapes and surreal creatures that come to her in waking dreams. Slowly Matthew and Isabella realize that to unlock this secret world is to open the door to their deepest yearnings. Author and artist Nick Bantock tells a story like no other: As you pull handwritten letters from stamped envelopes, the enchanting world of The Gryphon literally unfolds in your hands as it takes root in your imagination.

Number9Dream


David Mitchell - 2001
    In outward form, number9dream is a Dickensian coming-of-age journey: Young dreamer Eiji Miyake, from remote rural Japan, thrust out on his own by his sister’s death and his mother’s breakdown, comes to Tokyo in pursuit of the father who abandoned him. Stumbling around this strange, awesome city, he trips over and crosses—through a hidden destiny or just monstrously bad luck—a number of its secret power centers. Suddenly, the riddle of his father’s identity becomes just one of the increasingly urgent questions Eiji must answer. Why is the line between the world of his experiences and the world of his dreams so blurry? Why do so many horrible things keep happening to him? What is it about the number 9? To answer these questions, and ultimately to come to terms with his inheritance, Eiji must somehow acquire an insight into the workings of history and fate that would be rare in anyone, much less in a boy from out of town with a price on his head and less than the cost of a Beatles disc to his name.

The Land of Laughs


Jonathan Carroll - 2001
    A novel about how terrifying that would be.Schoolteacher Thomas Abbey, unsure son of a film star, doesn't know who he is or what he wants--in life, in love, or in his relationship with the strange and intense Saxony Gardner. What he knows is that in his whole life nothing has touched him so deeply as the novels of Marshall France, a reclusive author of fabulous children's tales who died at forty-four.Now Thomas and Saxony have come to France's hometown, the dreamy Midwestern town of Galen, Missouri, to write France's biography. Warned in advance that France's family may oppose them, they're surprised to find France's daughter warmly welcoming instead. But slowly they begin to see that something fantastic and horrible is happening. The magic of Marshall France has extended far beyond the printed page...leaving them with a terrifying task to undertake.

All the Names


José Saramago - 2001
    A middle-aged bachelor, he has no interest in anything beyond the certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, and death, that are his daily routine. But one day, when he comes across the records of an anonymous young woman, something happens to him. Obsessed, Senhor José sets off to follow the thread that may lead him to the woman-but as he gets closer, he discovers more about her, and about himself, than he would ever have wished.The loneliness of people's lives, the effects of chance, the discovery of love-all coalesce in this extraordinary novel that displays the power and art of José Saramago in brilliant form.

Smoking Poppy


Graham Joyce - 2001
     Dan Innes has received shattering news from the British Embassy in Bangkok: his daughter, Charlie, whom he hasn't seen or spoken to in two years, has been imprisoned in a Thai jail for drug smuggling. Angry, terrified, seething with reprimands and questions, Dan leaves for Thailand. But the jail at Chiang Mai marks the beginning of his search rather than the end. Following the faintest of trails up into the lawless, dangerous mountain region near Myanmar, where opium grows abundantly, Dan must retrace Charlie's steps -- and brave the same traps that have swallowed her...on a terrifying mission of self-discovery, blind faith, and salvation.

The Dogs: A Modern Bestiary


Rebecca Brown - 2001
    The dogs, led by the cruel, charismatic bitch named Miss Dog, alternate between being brutal attack animals and loyal companions, being real and otherworldly. Some chapters draw upon the ecstatic and horrifying visions of Christian mystics; others take place in the landscapes of familiar fairytales; others in the banal settings of the late-night pick-up bars or suburban picnics. The narrator uneasily inhabits these worlds until the dogs force her to take irrevocable action."A snarling attack on the fairytale form. A good girl's fears of inadequacy materialize as a pack of vicious dogs."—Publishers Weekly"A strange and wonderful first-person voice emerges from the stories of Rebecca Brown, who strips her language of convention to lay bare the ferocious rituals of love and need."—The New York Times"Using unsentimental language that slices, pries and exposes layers of emotion and sexuality as a scalpel does a body, Brown veers into the uncharted territory."—The San Francisco Chronicle"I read everything Rebecca Brown writes, watch for her books and hunt down her short stories. She is simply one of the best contemporary lesbian writers around."—Dorothy Allison"A dry, witty, graceful—if savage—gift."—Mary GaitskillRebecca Brown is the author of other fictions, including The Terrible Girls, Annie Oakley’s Girl, and The Gifts of the Body. She is the winner of the 2003 Washington State Book Award, and was awarded a Genius Award and grant from Seattle's weekly magazine, The Stranger. She lives in Seattle.

Devil's Valley


André Brink - 2001
    But then a man called Lukas Death stands before him. So begins Lochner's search for "the truth" first hinted at by a young student in Cape Town who was mysteriously killed. Lochner meets Lukas Death's clan, where righteousness prevails by day and depravity by night, where punishment for misdemeanors is summary, yet brutal murderers walk unscathed. Nothing in Devil's Valley is as it seems: the supernatural is an ingredient of every day, the living and the dead are never quite separate, the grotesque coexists with the banal.Vibrant and darkly humorous, Devil's Valley is splendid entertainment from a master storyteller.

Echo


Francesca Lia Block - 2001
    This outstanding story is no different. Following the life of Echo, an L.A. baby born to an artistic dad and a mom who's an angel, this enthralling story offers more than fairy dust and the supernatural. It tells the tale of a girl who feels doomed to be less than angelic, at least in comparison with her mother. Mom's startling beauty and aura enchant all who meet her, and Echo can never keep up. Desperate to be loved as much, and maybe find her own identity, she escapes to the boys in her life. Ultimately, she must rely on herself for the strength to survive.Simple text ands story lines do not appeal to Block, who weaves a tale with amazing grace and the flowing energy of a true genius. Images of vampires, ghosts, and fairies fill these pages, daring the reader to believe. Told from the point of view of Echo and the key players in her life, the story imparts a dreamlike quality to Echo's life. This a novel layered with pain beauty, and triumph, all which will appeal to young readers.

References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot and Other Plays


José Rivera - 2001
    This new volume collects the author’s plays written in the past five years, including References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot ("effortlessly melds otherworldly fantasy with gritty realism to make sparks fly onstage."—The Journal News), Sueño (a reworking for Pedro Calderón’s Life is a Dream) and Sonnets for an Old Century, the author’s most recent work, which recently premiered in Los Angeles.Puerto Rican-born playwright José Rivera plays have been produced all over the world and his work has been translated into seven languages. His best known work includes Marisol and Each Day Dies with Sleep. "Rivera has a messianic mission to replace old and dying creeds with vibrant new visions."—Robert Brustein, New RepublicAlso available by José RiveraMarisol and Other Plays PB $15.95 1-55936-136-0 • USA

The Seventh Telling: The Kabbalah of Moeshe Kapan


Mitchell Chefitz - 2001
    Stephanie and Sidney have been studying with Moshe Katan, a kabbalist who shared his learning only when he perceived that a kabbalistic intervention might be necessary to save the life of Rivkah, his wife. What has happened to Moshe and Rivkah we do not know, only that their house is now being used for an extraordinary storytelling, a spiritual discipline to share with those willing to risk examining the very core of their beliefs.

Stranger Things Happen


Kelly Link - 2001
    The girl detective must go to the underworld to solve the case of the tap-dancing bank robbers. A librarian falls in love with a girl whose father collects artificial noses. A dead man posts letters home to his estranged wife. Two women named Louise begin a series of consecutive love affairs with a string of cellists. A newly married couple become participants in an apocalyptic beauty pageant. Sexy blond aliens invade New York City. A young girl learns how to make herself disappear.These eleven extraordinary stories are quirky, spooky, and smart. They all have happy endings. Every story contains a secret prize. Each story was written especially for you.Stories from Stranger Things Happen have won the Nebula, Tiptree, and World Fantasy Award. Stranger Things Happen was a Salon Book of the Year, one of the Village Voice's 25 Favorite Books of 2001, and was nominated for the Firecracker Alternative Book Award.Contents:- Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1998)- Water Off a Black Dog's Back (1995)- The Specialist's Hat (1998)- Flying Lessons (1995)- Travels with the Snow Queen (1996/1997)- Vanishing Act (1996)- Survivor's Ball, or, The Donner Party (1998)- Shoe and Marriage (2000)- Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water (2001)- Louise's Ghost (2001)- The Girl Detective (1999)Cover painting by Shelley Jackson