Quan Barry on the Possibilities of Magical Realism
This Week on the Reading Women Podcast with Kendra Winchester
On this week’s episode of Reading Women, Kendra talks with Quan Barry, the author of We Ride Upon Sticks, which is out now in paperback from Vintage.
From the episode:
Quan Barry: I like magical realism because, to me, it takes something from almost like 3D thinking and it makes it almost like 4D thinking. You add a whole other element when you add the magical that obviously can’t happen. To me, it enriches reality. And so in that first book (She Weeps Each Time You’re Born), I had a magical element, and that was the idea that it was somebody who could hear the voices of the dead. In this book, I knew I was going to have a magical element. And it just made sense because, again, it’s witchcraft, right? So there’s a kind of a hive-mind mentality that begins to form. In my next book, it’s about reincarnation, which already has mystical overtones to it. That’s not to say that all my books will be like that, but I just realized for me, it’s a strength to just add one magical element, because it allows me to do more surprising sorts of things than regular 3D reality would allow.
Raised in the coastal town of Danvers, Massachusetts, Quan Barry is the author of the novel She Weeps Each Time You’re Born and of four books of poetry, including the collection Water Puppets, which won the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was a PEN Open Book finalist. She lives in Wisconsin and teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.