The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Magical Realism – Example for the blog hop

If you’ve stopped by my Malcolm’s Round Table blog this week, I hope you enjoyed the two magical realist posts here and here that are part of the current blog hop that’s bringing out a lot of great ideas across many blogs.

As part of our magical realism week, I thought I’d display an example from my own work. It seemed a big self-indulgent to use a current work, so here’s something out of an out of print novel that uses a lot f raven and crow imagery throughout. The main character is David and the lady (Eve) who’s been tormenting him while his girl friend Siobhan (AKA “Cat”) is out of town is the one driving the Rolls Royce.


It seems real, but is it?

It seems real, but is it?

Returning to the window, David looked the crow in the eye while concentrating on the drum beat of his own heart until the apartment slipped away and he found himself flying, one crow among many, across the clear sky of the lower world, watching the city with brown eyes as it slid southward into the morning and disappeared. Wind, the Creator’s breath, we found it strong and pure and held it as tentatively as flight required with effortless, almost lazy, caresses of our wings.

The city before us, north along our route, did not exist until we manifested it out of dream and then perceived our creation, now then, West Wood Street coming out of nothing, then returning, the same, now then Eldorado and the railroad tracks followed by Central and King healthy with people wrapped against the cold, hurrying after their morning tasks unaware they owed their lives to crows, more common and libeled than alchemy’s prima materia, yet mothers of gold in all its forms, then Marietta and Orchid and Packard, less jammed with cars where the city center held less sway, soon, then Division and the IC tracks until, in the slim distance we gave birth, were birthing without effort or preoccupation with means, a White Rolls Royce Corniche crossing the intersection with Shafer, the top was down and Eve’s hair was flapping like a crow’s wing, and as we descended, I could hear the whisper of the car’s 6¾ litre V-8 engine when she passed a ploughed field, reached forward, and made the call.

Perhaps the car is a dream.

Perhaps the car is a dream.

The harsh ring of the phone tore me out of the air; I hit hallway floor next to the Chippendale claw-and-ball candle stand on the fourth ring. Somewhere between the field and the apartment, reality twisted inside out and expected Siobhan to be calling from the police station.

“I’m here, Cat.”

“No, David, it’s Eve. I’m glad you’re up.”

“I couldn’t sleep. I dreamt about resourceful crows who dreamt of me getting cut with a knife.”

“It was necessary.”

“Double or nothing, is that it?”

“You know, tell me you know.”

“No, I won’t tell you that, not while you’re enveloped within a murder of crows.”

“Jesus, all these birds in my face.”

“They’re looking for fallen corn. There’s a field on the left.”

“You did this?”

“Don’t be silly. Nobody controls crows.”

He heard screeching tires followed by the sound of crying birds before the phone went dead. A trinity of crows sat on the bedroom window sill. The one in the middle held a ribbon of brown hair in its beak.

Below, Carl took off his hat and slapped at a bird sitting on a stack of newspapers near the curb.


MRblogsI enjoyed playing off the idea of David flying with crows (magic?) with a very specific description of the town’s streets below. One tenant of magical realism is the presentation of magic (as readers commonly see it) as actual. Nobody says, “wow, this must be magic” any more than people see a limb fall off a tree and say, “wow, this must be gravity.”

To further mix the magic and the real, I have the ringing phone in David’s apartment pull him out of the flock of birds. The person calling is the lady in the Rolls Royce who is complaining about the crows. This lends credence to the notion that the crows are just as actual as the car and the streets.

And then, we tangle that a bit more when a crow lands on David’s window sill with a lock of Eve’s hair.

There are a lot of ways to blend magic into a realistic setting. One important consideration is this: how do the main character and others view the world. If they see magic (without calling it magic) as part of it, then they will quite naturally fit into a story that blends magic and realism together.


This post is part of the Magical Realism Blog Hop. About twenty blogs are taking part in the hop. Over three days (29th – 31st July 2015) these blogs will be posting about magical realism. Please take the time to click on the button above to visit sit them and remember that links to the new posts will be added over the three days, so do come back to read more.The button should go live on or after 12:01 a.m. July 29th.


KIndle cover 200x300(1)Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” a magical realism novella folk magic in the Jim Crow era of the Florida Panhandle where granny and her cat take on the Klan.


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