Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'll take a McOndo meal, supresized

What the hell is this? I thought this was a course devoted to magical realism, the so-called "definitive" form of the Latin American novel. Clearly I was mistaken, as McOndo forgot the magical part of the order. It's ok though, the literary chow is still satisfying, I won't yell at them for airballing my order.

McOndo's flavour is distinctly realist, there's no doubt about that. It's not hard to picture yourself actually experiencing the events and situations presented in the novel. Really, the stories told in McOndo could happen to anyone, anywhere and there's absolutely no sense of disconnect, or difference between Latin American and North American society. Do I like that fact? Sort of.

I understand that McOndo is a movement that was born as a somewhat "frustrated" response to the type casting of Latin American authors after the Boom. The idea of being pigeon holed into a certain genre or writing style simply based on your geographic heritage is absolutely absurd. Latin America is a fascinating place with a rich cultural heritage. The rise of magical realism helped to illustrate that fact and bolster interest in Latin America, its countries and its cultures. However, magical realism is exactly that, it's a magical morphing of reality, a way of exoticizing the reality of life in Latin America. In that sense, magical realism created a strong sense of disconnect for readers, and created an unrealistic image of Latin America. In the end, I feel as though the works collected in McOndo close the gap that was created by the rise of magical realism and illustrates that the vast majority of societal issues shared by every person in the world. As such, in terms of societal issues, there is no significant disconnect between Latin America, and the rest of the world (North Korean might be an exception).

That being said, however, I didn't particularly enjoy McOndo after spending an entire term being tantalized by magical realism. As I read, I constantly felt like I was being cheated, like something was missing. There just wasn't enough magic in my relationship with McOndo for me to form the save kind of love affair I did with Cien años or El reino. I want a divorce.


  1. Hi Pat,

    I like the McOndo touch!

    Yes you are right that the new realist style of Mcondo doesnt resemble at all the previous litterature we have read where magical realism was the key to the story, however I think that it would be injust to stop at a moment in time and say " this represents Latin American litterature". So as the authors of Mcondo have tried to break away from that style and stereotype, I think it is fair that the course presents it too, and overall it is a good idea to include all genres for a fair perspective. A very interesting post!

  2. Funny how a simple change in spelling can turn a great Scottish clan into a globalizing phenomenon.. In this case I have to agree: it is not a bad idea.. Though I also missed the magic in McOndo, it was good to read it and get a different vision of South American lit.
    I think you might be rushing your decision here.. Try starting with counselling first ;)