Original Research

The ‘soccer war’ and the ‘city that sailed Away’: magical realism and New Journalism in the work of Ryszard Kapuscinski

F. Wood
Literator | Vol 19, No 1 | a514 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v19i1.514 | © 1998 F. Wood | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 1998 | Published: 26 April 1998

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Abstract

In this article, I examine Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Another Day of Life (1987) and The Soccer War (1990). Kapuscinski is a Polish journalist who has written a number of books about his experiences as a foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We encounter a range of diverse and sometimes contradictory approaches in his writing, since Kapuscinski utilises realist and fantastic, surreal, postmodern, intensely subjective techniques to convey his experiences and perceptions.

As a result of his blending of realist and non-realist modes, Kapuscinki's work can be related to two important trends in contemporary literature: magical realism and New Journalism. Kapuscinski's writing illustrates certain significant points of comparison between these two approaches. These aspects of Kapuscinski's writing can, to an extent, be viewed in terms of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's concept of rhizomatics and nomadism. This article indicates that Kapuscinski's writing differs from some forms of magical realism and New Journalism in certain key respects.

The significance of Kapuscinski's work lies partly in the way in which it juxtaposes and interrelates various modes, thereby challenging fixed, monologic ways of viewing events. As a result of this, his writing evades easy definitions and conclusive categorisation. Finally, one of the most striking aspects of Kapuscinki's work lies in the way in which it provides a dramatic reflection of the interface between the fantastic and reality and between the surreal, the postmodern and journalistic realism.

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