This study contextualizes magical realism within current debates and theories of postcoloniality and examines the fiction of three of its West African pioneers: Syl Cheney-Coker of Sierra Leone, Ben Okri of Nigeria and Kojo Laing of Ghana. Brenda Cooper explores the distinct elements of the genre in a West African context, and in relation to:
* a range of global expressions of magical realism, from the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to that of Salman Rushdie
* wider contemporary trends in African writing, with particular attention to how the realism of authors such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka has been connected with nationalist agendas.
This is a fascinating and important work for all those working on African literature, magical realism, or postcoloniality.
Brenda Cooper is a Professor in the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town. Her previous book, To Lay These Secrets Open, 1992, debates the criteria for the evaluation of African fiction. She has also produced resources on the teaching of African literature in schools and colleges. These include Modern African Writing 1984, Debates, Dilemmas and Dreams 1992 and Nations: Stories of the World for Africa 1995.