It’s no surprise to voracious readers of female-authored fiction that the magical realism genre has flourished by the pens of the fairer sex. Readers with some enthusiasm for the genre may associate it with women of color in particular. For example, there’s Isabel Allende and Laura Esquivel, following in the Latin American tradition of Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Alice Walker and Toni Morrison incorporating folklore into African-American fiction.
It isn’t hard to think of Jewish men who weave mysticism and fantasy into their works, either — Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jonathan Safran Foer, Bernard Malamud and Franz Kafka. But the Jewish women of this genre are not as well known, though they are certainly present. Jewish studies and comparative literature students — you’ve got an enormous body of work to sift through from around the world to create compelling academic theses, and for everyone else, there’s a place on the couch waiting for us to curl up with one of these fabulous stories.
Here’s a list of nine female Jewish authors and their Jewish-themed magical realism novels, with just a bit about each book.
- “Moon In Bastet” by E.S. Danon
- “The River Midnight” by Lillian Nattel
- “The Red Magician” by Lisa Goldstein
- “The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss
- “Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith” by Gina B Nahai
- “Bee Season” by Myla Goldberg
- “Spirits of the Ordinary: A Tale of Casas Grandes” by Kathleen Alcala
- “The Road to Fez” by Ruth Knafo Setton
- “The Puttermesser Papers” by Cynthia Ozick
This list is not comprehensive, of course, so please share your favorite authors in this deep and growing category!
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