Redemption in Indigo Paperback
by Karen Lord
Paama, who is a great cook, has returned to her family after 10 years of marriage to the gluttonous Ansige, but two years later he hires the master tracker Kwame to find her.
Kwame needs the money to finance his own wanderlust and reluctantly takes the job.
These events draw the attention of Chance, the Indigo Lord, one of the powerful spirits called Djombi.
The Indigo Lord once wielded the power of Chaos, imbued within the Chaos Stick, but to punish him it was taken from him and given to Paama.
Now he wants it back, and he has all sorts of elaborate schemes planned to induce Paama to give him back the Chaos Stick.
The narrator, sometimes serious and often mischievous, spins delicate but powerful descriptions of locations, emotions, and the protagonists' great flaws and great strengths as they interact with family, poets, tricksters, sufferers of tragedy, and - of course - occasional moments of pure chaos.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: Quercus Publishing
- Publication Date: 01/03/2012
- Category: Fantasy
- ISBN: 9781780873084
- EPUB from £4.99
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Review by Scriptopus
It's hard to sustain the cadences and colloquialisms of a traditionally told fairy tale for the length of a novel, harder still to make it accessible - indeed comfortable and charming - for the modern reader, and hardest of all if the language and culture from which the story is extracted are foreign to most of its likely audience. And yet, with <i>Redemption in Indigo</i>, Karen Lord has done just that. A Barbadian writer building her story from a Senegalese folk tale, the Caribbean and African rhythms thrum gently from the first page to the last. We can hear them in the amused scolding of children, feel them in the dusty warmth of the breeze, smell them in the mouthwatering odours of her heroine Paama's cooking. <br/><br/>Most writers in English who work with myth and legend as their source material are firmly based in northern European and Greek traditions; those few who have taken inspiration from what we used to call the Dark Continent have more often than not betrayed - however innocently and unintentionally - their inherited prejudices and presumptions in the way they have recrafted the material. Lord's authenticity, her delight in her characters and her sure handling of the more ambiguous and nuanced moral terrain of these tales, are a breath of fresh air. The central theme of her story is not the grandiose good vs. evil to which we have become accustomed in our modern retelling of myth; it's not even the only slightly more subtle notion of right or wrong. It is the far more real human conundrum of deciding what is better or worse from a range of less than ideal options. It's about choices and consequences, small sacrifices and self-inflicted damage, the dangers of cynicism and the redemptive power of simply trying to do your best. It's told firmly but gently, with a lot of humour and a bit of heartbreak. It's a lovely tale from a wonderful writer. I'm looking forward to more from her.