One of the hazards of the so-called "magical realist" writers like me is that many an eager reader of the Edwardian persuasion will fail to see that the resolution of this particular narrative style is based on multiplicity and simultaneity rather than conventional realism. I bring out this point because here and there, a critic or a reader will misconstrue my experimentation with some of the concepts of quantum physics as merely magic or deus et machina to rescue a complicated narrative. So perhaps an explanation is in an order, particularly with my latest novel The Stillness of Love and Exile.
Foremost, a novel or any artistic work never exists in isolation. The artist draws from multiple sources and recombines, reinvents, and recreates. Much as the reproductive cycles where every new life is the fusion and rearrangement of the parents' DNA, so is the artistic creation process. The writer has his/her life's experiences, literary influences, and political persuasions. In my case, an unconventional educational background shaped my consciousness for, unlike most writers, I was first educated as a biologist. With that education came what was perhaps the most influential component of my knowledge besides the Theory of Evolution: the science of physics, especially the physics of subatomic particles, relativity, and the existence of multiple dimensions. As the science of quantum mechanics grows, the astute reader will notice that the so-called magic of magical realism is merely the manifestations of a universe or perhaps multiverse. These aspects of the universe (I'll stick to the accepted terminology for now) have been unseen for the most part, concealed by what Shelley called "the film of conventionality"; however, the world that lies beyond the restricted rationalist constructs--the so-called "realism"--- has been perceived by visionary writers such Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Rulfo, and Fuentes.
Beginning with the work of Albert Einstein, the science of physics has determined that time is neither merely linear nor immutable. Time can be altered, expanded, contracted. All time is simultaneous and can be transversed (theoretically) through wormholes. Thus, space and time have been redefined or rediscovered as Space-Time, a dual manifestation of a singular entity much as energy and mass are different forms of the same thing.
I borrowed some ideas from the theories on time, for example, in my novel Chronicles of Air and Dreams. The protagonist, the archeologist Maria Elena Vazquez uses her multilingual talents to recover the lost secrets of the last premodern Maya and Nahua cultures in order to decipher the lost nexus between man and the spirit realm. In the course of her journey she learns that the ancient world reveals a circular component of time, and that events repeat until an enigma finds its resolution. In an ironic twist, she discovered that the repeating entity is none other than herself: the multilingual woman once called Malintzin.
A "magical realist" writer, thus, takes the liberties afforded by an ever complex universe to explore the existential questions and enigmas of the human experience. In The Stillness of Love and Exile, I used quantum mechanics to respond to the question posed by Carlos Fuentes's novella Aura: what is the role of identity and desire? Does the woman Consuelo/Aura, who is the symbol of the first woman untainted by sin as defined by man, live to recreate herself as a young woman and thus end the cycle where she and her beloved are separated by age---because when she is young, her lover is old, and when she is old, he is young? If she dies, does the man, awakened (some would say "bewitched") by his desire, bring her back and free himself from conventional vanities?
Fuentes ends his novella with an ellipse, challenging the reader to evoke his/her own desire to finish the story much as Consuelo had asked Felipe to finish her husband's memoirs. The Stillness of Love and Exile was my answer to Fuentes's question.
Next: Part II: On Aura and Javier San Andres
Causes Rosa Villarreal Supports
Non-ideological, critical, free-thinking.
Equal Rights for Women.