Spoilers for encanto and mention of political violence.
“The marvelous begins to be unmistakably marvelous when it arises from an unexpected alteration of reality (the miracle), from a privileged revelation of reality, [...] perceived with particular intensity by virtue of an exaltation of the spirit that leads it to a kind of extreme state [estado limite]. To begin with, the phenomenon of the marvelous presupposes faith.” Alejo Carpentier.
When Jared Bush & Co. decided to set the next Disney hit in Colombia they met with Alejandra Espinosa; principal consultant of history and culture of the country. Amongst all the things she shared with them so that this movie wouldn’t be the disaster that was Raya and The Last Dragon (watch: How Disney Commodifies Culture), there was the subject of magical realism.
She told them, “Stop,” when they started talking about the genre, “Magical Realism isn’t taking free magic and putting it in a wild context”. Instead she asked them to look at the Marvelous Real of Alejo Carpentier, “Understanding our identity from our hispanic, indigenous and african roots”.
I have been reading, writing, and analyzing literary fiction for half a decade. Lit Fic has been of interest to me for a third of my life, and I still cannot tell you how to define literary fiction. Google did not have a clear definition, but I have my definition, and if you stick around, I can offer you that.
And I can try to tell you why I am prepared to spend the rest of my life studying a genre I do not even know how to define.