Share 9 Literary Novels That Sparkle With the Magical and Surreal

9 Literary Novels That Sparkle With the Magical and Surreal

Caitlin Kleinschmidt is part of the sales team at Workman Publishing. She has previously held positions at Viking/Riverhead, Simon & Schuster, Oxford University Press, and Macmillan. A Navy brat, she lived on both coasts and credits the Dear America series for her lifelong love of history. She has a special place in her heart for narrative nonfiction, as well as books about Eastern Europe and ballet.

Sometimes you’re in the mood for a touch of the fantastical. These wonderful novels push past the boundaries of realism and sparkle with elements of the magical, surreal, and dystopian. These entirely original creations will delight any fan of literary fiction.


Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel
A finalist for the 2014 National Book Award, this audacious, darkly glittering novel isn’t your average dystopian fiction. Taking place before and after a pandemic that irrevocably alters the fabric of society, it is an elegiac novel of art, memory, and beauty.
Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel

For fans of “The Walking Dead”

While “The Walking Dead” hero Rick Grimes and his gang are keeping hope alive but losing their grip fast after a zombie apocalypse, STATION ELEVEN’s Kirsten Raymonde and her band, the Symphony, have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive after a mysterious pandemic has ravaged civilization.

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Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are students at Hailsham, a boarding school in the remote English countryside where teachers constantly remind their charges of how special they are. This devastating novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss is another classic by the Man Booker Prize–winning author, Kazuo Ishiguro.
Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro

The students of Hailsham are special. That’s what they’ve been told. Isolated from the outside world, they’re raised from birth as “donors,” their bodily organs harvested for wealthy patrons. But this is no schlocky sci-fi; it’s a gently observed drama. Existential, painful, and unforgettable, NEVER LET ME GO explores how even the most disenfranchised and doomed characters find meaning, hope, and love, even as they resign themselves to a life cut horribly short.

Crazy like: You’d be too.

Best crazy moment: The whole damn book.

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9 Literary Novels That Sparkle With the Magical and Surreal

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California
by Edan Lepucki

The sunshine state lies in darkness, Los Angeles in ruins. This gripping and provocative debut novel imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind’s dark nature and irrepressible resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

California
Edan Lepucki

The sunshine state lies in darkness, Los Angeles in ruins. This gripping and provocative debut novel imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind’s dark nature and irrepressible resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

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9 Literary Novels That Sparkle With the Magical and Surreal

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The Book of Strange New Things
by Michel Faber

This monumental, genre-defying novel is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith, and the ties that hold two people together when they are worlds apart. It is a compelling book about love in the face of death and the search for meaning in an unfathomable universe.

The Book of Strange New Things
Michel Faber

This monumental, genre-defying novel is a wildly original tale of adventure, faith, and the ties that hold two people together when they are worlds apart. It is a compelling book about love in the face of death and the search for meaning in an unfathomable universe.

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9 Literary Novels That Sparkle With the Magical and Surreal

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | March 31, 2016

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The Age of Miracles
by Karen Thompson Walker

“THE AGE OF MIRACLES was so frightening because the apocalypse begins as an annoyance, like a lipstick that has melted. Walker’s greatest device is that the end of the world comes incrementally, almost casually, and each turned page winds the reader just a little more tightly.”

Read the full review by Richard Fifield here.

The Age of Miracles
Karen Thompson Walker

“THE AGE OF MIRACLES was so frightening because the apocalypse begins as an annoyance, like a lipstick that has melted. Walker’s greatest device is that the end of the world comes incrementally, almost casually, and each turned page winds the reader just a little more tightly.”

Read the full review by Richard Fifield here.

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Swamplandia!
by Karen Russell

This blazingly original debut novel takes us to the swamps of the Florida Everglades. Set against a backdrop of hauntingly fecund plant life, it is an utterly singular novel about one family’s struggle to stay afloat and one unforgettable young heroine on a harrowing odyssey.

Swamplandia!
Karen Russell

This blazingly original debut novel takes us to the swamps of the Florida Everglades. Set against a backdrop of hauntingly fecund plant life, it is an utterly singular novel about one family’s struggle to stay afloat and one unforgettable young heroine on a harrowing odyssey.

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Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Murakami

This ambitious and expansive novel will amaze, entertain, and bewitch you. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy who runs away from home and an aging simpleton who never recovered from a wartime affliction.

Kafka on the Shore
Haruki Murakami

This ambitious and expansive novel will amaze, entertain, and bewitch you. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy who runs away from home and an aging simpleton who never recovered from a wartime affliction.

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The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood

This horrifying vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution has become one of the most powerful and widely read novels of our time. It has endured not only as a literary landmark but also as a scathing satire and dire warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.

The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood

This horrifying vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution has become one of the most powerful and widely read novels of our time. It has endured not only as a literary landmark but also as a scathing satire and dire warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.

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Cloud Atlas
by David Mitchell

In a narrative that traverses centuries and space, David Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky. It is a daring exploration of reality and identity.

Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell

In a narrative that traverses centuries and space, David Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky. It is a daring exploration of reality and identity.

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