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Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Redemption in Indigo (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Karen Lord

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3333133,108 (3.82)61
Title:Redemption in Indigo
Authors:Karen Lord
Info:Small Beer Press (2010), Paperback, 188 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned, Read in 2012
Tags:2012, Barbados

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Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (2010)


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Redemption in Indigo is a fairy tale, somewhat Gaiman-esque, somewhat not, a very clear, very contained story of Paama, the wife of a fool, entrusted with the Chaos Stick that leads her down a path of self-fulfillment and empowerment. This is a story of magic, made real. It wound itself around me like a snake, entrapping me in it's seemingly elementary plot, leaving me spellbound to this day. Recently I read an author discussing techniques to avoid if you want your book review blog to be successful. Enthusiasm, he decided was not only destructive but trite and boring. I have decided to ignore his advice.

Full review visit: goo.gl/HyBlAQ ( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
Redemption in Indigo is undeniably fantastical, but it more closely resembles a fairy tale or fable than your usual fantasy novel. Based upon a Senegalese folktale, Redemption in Indigo is the wryly humorous account of Paama, a mortal woman who attracts the attention of the djombi, who gift her with the Chaos Stick. However, the original owner of the Chaos Stick is unhappy with this change in ownership.

“All my tales are true, drawn from life, and a life story is not a tidy thing.”

My favorite thing about Redemption in Indigo was the focus on storytelling and the narrative voice. The unnamed narrator speaks in first person, sometimes addressing the reader directly, mimicking the feel and tradition of oral storytelling. What really makes this work is the subtle humor that shines through the narrator’s voice.

“You must never tell people their own stories. They have no interest in them, or they think they can tell them better themselves. Give them a stranger’s life, and then they’re content.”

Redemption in Indigo isn’t fast paced or packed with action. Instead, it’s a comfortable book. There’s a sense of warmth to it, and wisdom as well. And despite the occasional mentions of modern conveniences, Redemption in Indigo has a sense of timelessness to it.

I also liked Paama as a heroine. She’s brave, hard working, and resilient, and she triumphs more due to her determination and strong moral center than to any more typical means. Throughout the story, she’s shown the petty sides of humanity, often embodied in her lazy and gluttonous husband, but she continues to believe in the good in people.

Redemption in Indigo is a very different sort of fantasy story, but it is one well worth reading.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | May 4, 2016 |
I heard this described as "It's a retold fairy-tale from Senegal and the language is gorgeous - poetic but in an elegant and clear way, not a tangle of adjectives and weird metaphors. A bit Ursula Le Guin like. Also quite witty and meta. The plot is a bit of a mess, but I didn't much care." Sounds good to me!
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Different than that which I normally read, and refreshing, surprising and thoroughly enjoyable as a result. I loved the feel of the story being spun by a professional (oral) storyteller. There were two distinct parts to the book, almost as if the first part (centering on Ansige the Glutton) started out as a short story, but then the author wasn't done with Paama yet. I didn't mind that at all, though it was kind of strange and noteworthy. A very satisfying story overall, and the very end brought tears to my eyes. I will definitely be checking out Lord's other works of fiction. ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
I liked this book: a lot. I've been working on expanding the ethnic/cultural/sociological base of my reading, and this book fits in nicely to that scheme. There is something deeply appealing to me about the African-based/flavored/inspired fantasy I've read.

Redemption in Indigo is simply lovely. I didn't buy into the initial "narrator addressing the reader" bit at the beginning, as I tend to doubt novels that lean on the narrator as an additional "character." Often it yields distracting commentary that rubs raw spots in my brain. The narrator works fine in this novel, though, and Lord never lets it get out of control.

The actual story-telling voice is very nice. Easy to read, fun to read... I found myself searching out moments to read this little book. The negative part of this is that it's a slim novel, so I was done in a couple short days. Boo! I would have liked more!

And yet: we have grown accustomed to novels that are bloated, fattened, full of authorly self-aggrandizement and a perceived preciousness of language, which, in the end, dilutes the core of a story. Lord doesn't do that. This is story, and moral, and magic and love and loss... it's realization and redemption and all of that in a neat 188 page package. How much I respect a novel that doesn't pretend that bigger is better!

Redemption in Indigo is just right. ( )
  ThePortPorts | Jan 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Inspired by a Senegalese folktale, Redemption in Indigo is the perfect antidote to the formula fantasies currently flooding the market. When Paama finally leaves her husband Ansige after 10 years of marriage, he follows her in an attempt to win her back. After a series of humorous, often slapstick episodes in which foolish Ansige gets himself into deeper trouble, only to be extricated by Paama, the watching djombi spirits give Paama the Chaos Stick which allows her to affect chance and probability. However, the Indigo Lord wants the stick back, kidnaps Paama, takes her on a wondrous tour and attempts to impress her with his magic. Précis fails to do justice to the novel's depth, beauty and elegant simplicity. Written from the point of view of an omniscient storyteller in the style of an oral narrative, this is a subtle, wise and playful meditation on life and fate.
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To the memory of my mother, Muriel Haynes Lord
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A rival of mine once complained that my stories begin awkwardly and end untidily.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A re-telling of a Senegalese folktale. Paama is presented with a gift from the undying ones: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle forces of the world.

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Karen Lord is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Small Beer Press

An edition of this book was published by Small Beer Press.

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