This book, for me, defines Magic Realism at its most engaging. The world is real, its characters also are real, or appear so, until the magic begins to weave its subtle spell. When reading this story I was never sure whether I was seeing magic or what we think of as the normal world seen through rose coloured glasses. Somehow, I knew from the beginning there would be a happy ending. Yet, knowing it did not prevent me from eagerly turning pages to find out how that ending would be found. Was it magic? Was it a series of co-incidences? At first it seemed that the latter must be the case. After all, magic no longer exists. Does it?
Wyld winds us through the lives of Angelita, Rosa, Poppa, Mona, Mother and the parade of odd characters that enter to play their parts. She does this so deftly, with such a delicate touch that I was always left wondering – how, why, who, when? The magic at work throughout, if you have eyes to see it. Yet, there are no spells, no events that can be remarked on in and of themselves, that can be said to demonstrate magic. It is part of the fabric of this world in which these characters find themselves, suffering as all of us do, with the same problems all of us face, trying to work them out as all of us do. They have secrets, normal lives, loves – even regrets, just as we all do. Yet … and in that “yet” lies the magic. It is unwrapped, layer by gossamer layer, in the most subtle and delightful ways. There is no declaration, no statement saying, “This is magic”. Oh, no, it doesn’t work that way.
For me there was an additional magic – the one that had me turning pages to find out what would happen next – even though not much was happening at all. That’s true magic.