February is black history month. It’s a great time to check out novels by African American writers. As usual, I prefer stories with a pinch of magic and these books certainly do deliver. Here are my top picks for magical realism novels to read during black history month.
Sethe and her daughter, Denver, have escaped slavery, but the horrors of it continue to haunt them. A spirit has taken up residence in their home. It throws things about the house and has frightened away some of the family. Sethe believes the spirit to be the ghost of her dead daughter.
Cora is a young slave who never fit in on the plantation. When fellow outcast Ceasar decides to run away Cora decides that it is worth the risk. Her own mother ran away when she was still an infant. They run to the underground railroad where engineers and conductors operate an actual secret railway on tracks that are hidden deep beneath the ground.
Mama Day is a conjurer who knows how to use the herbs of the land and can command lightning with her walking stick. When her great-niece Cocoa comes to visit her and falls under the influence of the island’s darker forces, Cocoa’s rational minded husband, George, has to start believing in magic to save her.
Dana is a modern day woman celebrating her birthday when suddenly she is transported through time to the antebellum South. Suddenly she has to navigate the world as a slave. Dana continues to move back and forth between time periods as her life as a slave in the south become increasingly worse.
Rutherford Calhoun is a free man who owes some bad people a lot of money. While running away from his lenders he accidentally hides on a slave ship leaving the harbor in New Orleans.