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Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
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Redemption in Indigo (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Karen Lord

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2722541,869 (3.83)58
Member:Sharkell
Title:Redemption in Indigo
Authors:Karen Lord
Info:Small Beer Press (2010), Paperback, 188 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned, Read in 2012
Rating:**1/2
Tags:2012, Barbados

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Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (2010)

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» See also 58 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Paama leaves her slovenly husband and goes home. Based on a Sengaliese folktale. Paama gets chaor stick and the trickster and blue guy come after her. Gorgeous writing evocative of a storyteller who addresses the reader sometimes -- an oral tradition. (Djombi inhabits people) Funny, visual, good family dynamics ( )
  jenzbaker | Jan 13, 2015 |
Barbadian author Karen Lord takes the Senegalese folk tale "Ansige Karamba the Glutton" and uses it as a way of injecting her main character into her own fable of responsibility and redemption. The story is filled with Anansi tricksters, with personifications of Chance and Patience, and all the other demiurges that make the world work. It is filled with human beings, none perfect, many comical, all of whom recognizable to the reader.

It's also filled with a great deal of sly and gentle humor. Plus, of course, the moral lessons. Some readers may find the story a bit bland in the way that those sort of tales often are, and dread the inevitable Point (with a capital P). Lord knows this; as her narrator says, "There are those who utterly, utterly fear the dreaded Moral of the Story...Everything teaches, everyone preaches, all have a gospel to sell! Better the one who is honest and open in declaring an agenda than the one who fools you into believing that they are only spinning a pretty fancy for beauty’s sake."

To be honest, I didn't like her saying that. I prefer my parables to be unapologetic and unconfrontational about what they are: Here is what I wrote; if you like it then I'm glad and, if you didn't, then I guess you won't read my next story. Still, it didn't really diminish my enjoyment of this entertaining and humorous tale that seems surprisingly self-assured for a debut novel. There is something of the feel of oral tradition in this book, of the folk tale rather than magical realism — although darned if I know where to draw the line between those two — that appealed to me.

I hear her subsequent works are different in tone and style. I look forward to seeing what else she can do as I add her to the growing list of Caribbean authors of speculative fiction whom I appreciate. ( )
  TadAD | Jan 1, 2015 |
LONG ASIDE: What's the difference between a "fairy tale" and a "folktale"? (And where does "myth" fit into that?) A fairy tale obviously needn't include actual fairies (is there a single Disney movie with fairies?). I have a sneaking suspicion that we (by which I mean English speakers of European descent) tend to classify as "fairy tales" stories that reflect our own cultural background and as "folktales" those that seem exotic to us. I am therefore deliberately using the term "fairy tale" in this review; I would, however, very much like to hear if others have come to the same conclusion or analyzed the distinction more knowledgeably.

OKAY, BACK TO THE POINT: This is a charming fairy tale retelling -- of what I'm told is a Senegalese story -- with Lord's (I am now beginning to think) characteristic sense of humor and playfulness. There are no villains, only characters with conflicting motivations. The stakes are not played as particularly high (though I guess many lives are at risk?), which was both refreshing and a bit disappointing. I finished the book thinking of it as not much more than a confection, if a pleasant one.

So: if you're new to Lord, I'd recommend starting with The Best of All Possible Worlds. If you've already read that and are impatient for the next book, you probably won't be unhappy with Redemption in Indigo. ( )
  ellen.w | Jun 1, 2014 |
LONG ASIDE: What's the difference between a "fairy tale" and a "folktale"? (And where does "myth" fit into that?) A fairy tale obviously needn't include actual fairies (is there a single Disney movie with fairies?). I have a sneaking suspicion that we (by which I mean English speakers of European descent) tend to classify as "fairy tales" stories that reflect our own cultural background and as "folktales" those that seem exotic to us. I am therefore deliberately using the term "fairy tale" in this review; I would, however, very much like to hear if others have come to the same conclusion or analyzed the distinction more knowledgeably.

OKAY, BACK TO THE POINT: This is a charming fairy tale retelling -- of what I'm told is a Senegalese story -- with Lord's (I am now beginning to think) characteristic sense of humor and playfulness. There are no villains, only characters with conflicting motivations. The stakes are not played as particularly high (though I guess many lives are at risk?), which was both refreshing and a bit disappointing. I finished the book thinking of it as not much more than a confection, if a pleasant one.

So: if you're new to Lord, I'd recommend starting with The Best of All Possible Worlds. If you've already read that and are impatient for the next book, you probably won't be unhappy with Redemption in Indigo. ( )
  ellen.w | Jun 1, 2014 |
...Redemption in Indigo is an unusual book in many respects. There is the way the story is told, with a very present narrator and a myriad of side plots that seem to go nowhere but are somehow essential to the novel. There is the elusive strong female main character that the fantasy genre is trying so hard to find. There is African inspired setting and mythological influences that you only rarely find in English language literature. All of this and more Lord manages to put into a relatively short novel. The book is so many things that don't usually come up when people think fantasy that is should really open the reader's eyes about what is possible in fantastical literature. It is quite simply a great read. For anybody who wants more out of the genre than your typical Tolkienesque epic fantasy, this novel is a must read.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Mar 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (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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