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Redemption in Indigo: a novel Paperback – July 6, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931520666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931520669
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Lord's debut, a retelling of a Senegalese folktale, packs a great deal of subtly alluring storytelling into this small package. Paama flees her gluttonous husband, Ansige; two years later, he hires the master tracker Kwame to find her. Kwame reluctantly takes the job to finance his own wanderlust. These events draw the attention of the Indigo Lord, one of the powerful spirits called Djombi. He wielded the power of Chaos until it was taken from him and given to Paama, and he wants it back. An unnamed 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. (June)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Lord is Barbadian, and her first novel retells a Senegalese legend, setting it in a world not unlike the village West Africa of Ousmane Sembène's films. In it, humans and the undying spirits of such qualities as patience and chance as well as of tricksters, great (a spider, of course) and lesser, interact. In little Makende, Paama, who is a great cook, has returned to her family after 10 years of marriage to the gluttonous Ansige. To chastise Chance, Patience has seized the Chaos Stick, which can alter human disasters if seldom dispel them, and decided to give it to Paama. Chance's elaborate efforts to induce Paama to give it back to him constitute the principal strain of the plot, from which the narrator diverges in every other chapter to account for other characters who impinge on the main action. A great deal happens in the novel's relatively short course, but confusion is minimal because Lord has found the ideal voice for the narrator—feminine yet authoritative, amusing yet soothing, omniscient yet humble. This is one of those literary works of which it can be said that not a word should be changed. --Ray Olson

More About the Author

Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier and an academic at various times and in various countries. She is now a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel Redemption in Indigo won the 2008 Frank Collymore Literary Award, the 2011 William L. Crawford Award and the 2011 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

Customer Reviews

Easy reading, great story, well writen, good plot.
Eeva-Liisa Tenhunen
The story (as well as the style) are likely to be new and fresh for fantasy readers - this is a fantasy novel told in a distinctly original style.
YA and urban fantasy are frequently exceptions, pulling out the full first-person perspective.
Mike Reeves-McMillan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful novel this is! It is utterly enchanting from beginning to end, truly a pleasure to read. Both editorial reviews mention that this book is a retelling of a folktale, which is wrong. The first few chapters retell the tale of our heroine Paama, yes, but after that Paama's adventures are of the author's invention. And what invention! A surprising array of delightful characters, human and otherwise, make appearances in this deceptively slim novel, but really this is Paama's story. Paama is not THE chosen one of destiny, on a quest to do a deed, but rather A chosen one, still free to make her own choices, on a quest to try to learn which choice to make. This is a fantasy not about being a winner, but about living your life, living well in the face of adversity. As such, for all its antic moments, this slight novel is in the end much more satisfying than any number of the sort of relentlessly grim, heavy, often cynical fantasies that are so popular these days. And all the book's adventures, the whimsical and the weighty, are perfectly related by the narrator, a masterfully digressive and captivating storyteller (although I did not get the "feminine yet authoritative," whatever that means, mentioned in a review above). This is a charming novel that inspired more laughs and smiles than anything else I've read in some time, yet also had enough substance that it was more than a mere amusette. Highly recommended.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Jackson on March 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
It's hard to go up against two starred reviews from twp prestigious review journals, plus a perfect five from everyone else. But I'm trying to be honest here.

I loved the first several chapters. For me, the story began to unravel somewhere in the middle. For one thing, the use of magic seemed excessive and injudicious. The magical characters (djombis) flit through time and space, foretell the future, erase the memories of those they encounter, conjure great wealth, disguise themselves as animals and insects, shape shift, etc. etc. When characters can do just about anything, I stop taking them seriously. One of these characters confesses that he can't "read minds." Yet, he does everything else. Shortly thereafter this same character tells in great detail what's going to become of a certain little boy. With these kinds of powers, it hardly matters if he can't read minds. The future's already known.

There's no real conflict in this story, partly because the magical characters are so overwhelming but also because it's hard to tell what some of the characters really want. We're told over and over what an extraordinary woman Paama is, but I wasn't feeling it. Certain plot elements are introduced, but not developed: the brooch, the dreaming pillow, the Sisters, even the chaos stick which is only used once. We never really get to see what it can do.

Yet the voice of the narrator is charming and the humor, at times, is delightful. And there's a compassionate spirit that permeates the book. But overall, for me, a frustrating read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Ambrose on December 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
I love small conventions because I always end up with new additions to my list of things I really want to read. This was one of the books I picked up as a direct result.

Redemption in Indigo is about a woman named Paama who hasn't had a particularly pleasant few years. A few of the djombi (big and little spirits of varying disposition) decide to entrust a very special item to her. Another one of the djombi, the Indigo Lord, wants it back.

I really loved the style of prose. The narrator's occasional asides to the reader gave me the feeling that this story should be read out loud. The rhythm of the phrases had and almost musical quality to them and the way the narrative smoothly moved from one character to the next made me want to just cuddle up with a bunch of other people and pass the book around to read it aloud (something I may in fact try later).

I liked Paama. I thought that she was mostly patient, quietly determined and best of all, knew where her limits were and when to put her foot down. I also appreciated that she didn't really want super powers and didn't forget that she had a support network in the people in her life who cared about her. I loved how it ended for her.

Also interesting was the assertion that the djombi could and would change over time. All too frequently the supernatural characters are portrayed as unchanging, timeless and static. Until some mortal love interest comes along and "changes" things around for the "better" (yechh). I liked the variation across the tricksters especially. Some jobs were clearly considered better than others and at least one of them actually enjoyed making those pranks benefit their victims. The evolution of the Indigo Lord is especially highlighted in that the nature of one's redemption is often a product of not only what one did (or didn't do) but also a result of from whom that redemption is sought.

I really enjoyed this book and would gladly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Montgomery-Blinn on August 16, 2011
Format: Audible Audio Edition
Published by Small Beer Press in July 2010 and on several year's best fantasy lists, Karen Lord's Redemption in Indigo finally arrived at Audible on June 15, courtesy of a Recorded Books production, narrated by Robin Miles. Miles has 56 Audible titles to her credit, but this was my first, though her 2010 narration of Ekaterina Sedia's The House of Discarded Dreams is waiting for me on my wish list for one of these days. Redemption in Indigo is a short listen at a shade under six and a half hours, and it's well worth discovering. The overall arc of the story comes under the frame of a storyteller relating the events, complete with asides (such as "we'll learn more about this later") and informalities (such as "let us skip forward through time a bit so as to miss the boring parts") and footnotes and digressions. The story comes across in a playful, light way, the way of an elder telling a favorite story around a village campfire. This is a wonderful change of pace not just from the battlefields and seriousness of much of the rest of fantasy these days, but also in its leisurely pace, delighting on simple surroundings imbued with the mythological references which have been passed down through the generations. As a work of oral storytelling goes, this one's a keeper, and I'm glad I was able to enjoy it in this format.
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