Friday, May 7, 2010

Is Hallowed Secularism Magic Realism?

5/7/2010—It has occurred to me that perhaps hallowed secularism could be thought of as a mild form of “magic realism”, though without the fantastical elements.

This thought returned upon reading the review in the New York Times Book Review section of Isabel Allende’s new novel, Island Beneath the Sea (All Souls Rising). The reviewer, Gaiutra Bahadur referred to magic realism, which is often associated with Ms. Allende. Bahadur reminds the reader that the term was coined not for novels but painting: “It was an art critic who coined the term 'magic realism,' to describe a new wave of painting in 1920s Germany. The work departed from the moody Expressionism of the day, emphasizing material reality even as it unlocked an elusive otherworldliness in the arrangement of everyday objects.”

That seems to me what the hallowed secularist is seeking: the elusive sense of more that resides throughout life and which does not depend in the slightest on the supernatural.

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