n. a literary style or genre that combines naturalistic details and narrative with surreal or dreamlike elements
n. genre of meticulously realistic painting of imaginary scenes and fantastic images
Magical realism, magic realism, or marvelous realism is literature, painting, film, and theater that, while encompassing a range of subtly different concepts, share in common an acceptance of magic in the rational world. It is also sometimes called fabulism, in reference to the conventions of fables, myths, and allegory. Of the four terms, Magical realism is the most commonly used and refers to literature in particular that portrays magical or unreal elements as a natural part in an otherwise realistic or mundane environment.
The terms are broadly descriptive rather than critically rigorous. Matthew Strecher defines magic realism as "what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe." Many writers are categorized as "magical realists," which confuses the term and its wide definition. Magical realism is often associated with Latin American literature, particularly authors including Gabriel García Márquez, Miguel Angel Asturias, and Isabel Allende. In English literature, its chief exponents include Salman Rushdie and Alice Hoffman.