These Mini Reviews are books featuring Magical Realism, which is something I really enjoy and don’t seem to read enough of.
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
Jaya’s mother is dead. Shortly after she dies, being start falling from the sky. Jaya’s father is obsessed with them, thinking they will bring him closer to his dead wife. Their relationship is strained, her father used to work away a lot and they don’t really know how to be around each other. When Jaya stumbles upon a Being, she resolves never to let her father, but hiding an angel in Edinburgh isn’t going to be easy. This book was set in Edinburgh, in places that I know and love well. I loved the friendships that formed from Jaya trying to hide the angel, and the budding romance melted my frozen heart. The book explores grief beautifully. It also has a focus on religious cults and discussions of the afterlife, which I found interesting. The angel, Teacake, copies language she hears which leads to some hilarious conversations as she repeats lines from adverts she has heard. This was a really lovely book and one I’d definitely recommend to fans of magical realism.
The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X. R. Pan
When Leigh’s mother dies, a bird appears with a box of her things; Leigh believes the bird is her mother. Her mother had mental health problems and took her own life; Leigh refers to that night as “the stain” and it haunts her. She is obsessed with the colour of things. She and her friend Axel are always asking “what colour?” to work out how the other is thinking or feeling. She is estranged from her Taiwanese maternal grandparents, but her father takes her to meet them to get the answers she is seeking; but wherever she goes the bird is just slightly out of her reach. In Taiwan, she meets Feng, a mysterious character who seems to get on well with her family. Feng helps her to navigate this new place and teaches her of the tradition that “after a person’s death they have forty-nine days to process their karma” and her mother’s time is almost up. Leigh starts to burn things from the box, each of which releases a memory that helps her to solve the mystery. This is a breathtakingly beautiful story about family, memory and grief. If you haven’t read it yet, then please do.
I loved both of these books. Have you read either of them? Can you recommend me any similar books?