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The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan is one of my favorite books because of its hard to place genre and literary mode. The beautiful prose and compelling story helps too. I also loved the atmosphere created with the reader experiencing Taiwan along with the main character.
This book opens a lot of doors bringing experimental fiction to the mainstream. It is a well received success with critics as well as readers. This is hard to do with a book that doesn't fit neatly into a traditional marketing category or genre.
Amy Remy made two masks, one for each of her grandchildren. She used strands of her strong salt and peppered hair for thread. The fabric came from a scarf her own grandmother used to wear when she was a child. Amy's grandmother would take off her scarf and guard Amy's young ears from any harmful ideas the adults would carelessly toss around when forgetting her presence. She would wrap it around her head and kiss her cheek, Amy would watch her grandmother's wrinkles amplify as she scorned the others for using profanity.
If you are confused by the term ‘magic realism’, you’re not alone. The wide variety of novels and short stories all claiming to be magic realism can be bewildering, ranging as they do across romance, family saga, historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, surrealist, fabulist, slipstream, absurdist and weird fiction.
How can this be?
Caredwyn played with the threads of the worn beach quilt her mother made from her childhood t-shirts that she couldn't bear to donate or throw away. Her mother sat next to her staring out at the waves as if the sets were speaking to her in morse code telling her what to say to her recently divorced daughter. Crash. Smash. Whoosh. "Just listen," they advised.
Running her fingers over the Carebear's belly to her right, Caredwyn took a handful of sand and placed it on the quilt square sculpting the sand around the cartoon character. She looked at the horizon as tears trickled down her cheeks. The liquid spread as she smiled when she saw the line of sailboats racing to the harbor. "Remember what I used to say about sailboats?" she said and rubbed her face with her sleeve.