Snapshots by Shobha De

51rI5YJCUDL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Snapshots by Shobha De is a story about four women who have a reunion after a gap of time. The story is told in flashbacks and narrates the events of an afternoon that the frinds spend together. It results in problems and a death (Noor).

Aparna, (husband Rohit, lover Prem), Reema Chandiramani (now Reena Nath, relationship with her brother-in-law), Surekha (housewife, dominating mother-in-law, has a lesbian relationship with her friend and Dolly), Rashmi (eleven-year-old Pips’ mother, middle name nymphomaniac, he is a bastard, father is a married movie director, Pips Sr who left her for a tidier home), and Noor (has an incestuous relationship with her brother, discovers the hidden microphones for the materials for Swati’s Sisters of the Subcontinent, and commits suicide at the end of the reunion).

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How to Save Your Own Life by Erica Jong

51KwcT3lvwL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_How to Save Your Own Life by Erica Jong is her second partly biographical book and a really interesting and revolutionary work on identity, gender roles, and meta-narration.

Identity of the author/narrator is distorted by the press, the strangers “who project their fantasies and frustrations on you” and those people “who envy you and imagine they would like to replace you” (8).

Narration strategies: letter writing (from a fan, Celia Laffont), play dialogue between Bennett and her when they are going to the airport to teach the Craft of Writing to Pastoral U, footnote on the F Questionnaire (75) that determines which men are safe to fuck and invented by Gretchen Kendall, list of How to Save Your Own Life / (The Wit & Wisdom of Isadora Wing) (190) and Josh’s letters to her.

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Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

like water for chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate  (1989) by Laura Esquivel  is another example of magic realism by a female author. It narrates the experiences of Tita, the youngest daughter of Mama Elena, who falls in love with Pedro but marries him after twenty years, after Rosaura, her sister and his legal wife, dies. The book is divided into twelve chapters, each corresponding to a month of the year and a recipe that was cooked during that month.

Themes: magic realism, love, food and cooking, family (including the relationship between Gertrudis and Tita and Elena’s cruelty), history (Mexican Revolution), and the power of traditions.

Women in the family: Mama Elena; her daughters, Gertrudis, Rosaura, and Tita (real name, Josefita); Nacha, the cook; and Chencha, the maid.

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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolpho A. Anya

ultimaBless Me, Ultima by Rudolpho A. Anya is an example of a magical realism novel. It can be read as a bildungsroman as it chronicles the growth of Antonio, a young boy whose life takes a turn when a Ultima, a medicine woman, comes to live with his family.

Themes: women, community, the power of dreams, family and ancestors, man vs nature, and religion (organized vs pagan).

Ultima is a curandera, “a woman who knew the herbs and remedies of the ancients, a miracle-worker who could heal the sick” who “could lift the curses laid by brujas” and “exorcise the evil the witches planted in people to make them sick. And because a curandera had this power she was misunderstood and often suspected of practicing witchcraft herself” (4).

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