This occurred to me a few days ago.
I was pondering the kinds of of stories that I think of as Magical Realism, and I noticed something I think is worth bringing up. I’m not sure it’s a hard-and-fast rule, but then again the whole MR sub-genre is more than a bit hazy.
It seems to me that these sorts of stories are, at some level, “self-aware” of themselves as stories.
By that, I mean to say that there seems to be a common stylistic element in these sorts of stories – the style of a story being told to an audience.
I’m not sure if I can put it more concretely than that – I haven’t personally encountered a literary term that describes what I’m talking about – but there seems (to me) to be a readily-detected tone in these stories of “This is a story I am about to tell you.”
Or perhaps “Once upon a time…”
In some cases, it’s subtle, as with At the Mouth of the River of Bees. In other cases, as with (for instance) Big Fish, the storyteller is front and center and you’re made aware of that structure and style.
And yes, every story is a story told to an audience, strictly speaking – what I’m talking about is the sense that these particular stories are framed (either subtly or obviously) as a Told Thing: a shared object… and (just as important) at some level, they seems to know it.
I think, perhaps, it hearkens back to MR’s pre-war antecedents: fairy tales. Their origins (even if you’re talking only about the south/central american origins) grow, more directly than most, from spoken tales.
Am I making any kind of sense, or it this just early-morning ramble?