Skip to content

Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord.

September 26, 2012

Redemption in indigo : a novel by Karen Lord.   Easthampton, MA : [Minneapolis, Minn.] : Small Beer Press ; Distributed to the trade by Consortium, c2010.

A beautifully-written and wise fantasy that addresses deep questions of good and evil.

The setting is a village, possibly in Africa, where family responsibility remains strong and the “undying” interact with humans.  The narrator is a Storyteller who frequently discusses the tale with his or her readers.  The story, perhaps of Senegalese origin, starts slowly with a simple tale of Paami, the wife of a foolish glutton.  She leaves him and returns to her village. When he comes to the village to claim her, she acts with strength and calm to save him from his own stupid behavior and sends him away.  For her wise behavior she given the Chaos Stick, a magic tool for affecting probabilities which has been taken away from a spirit who was misusing it.  From the there the story becomes complicated and involves a variety of magical creatures with varying levels of ability and good will toward humans.  Lesser spirits do the will of stronger ones.  Some of those who want to be helpful or only mischivious may change and become cruel and callous toward what they perceive as worthless humans.

Taking the Chaos Sick, Paami, turns to the House of the Sisters for help and guidance as she tries to protect own sister from a strong, self-centered spirit who thinks it is the sister who holds the Chaos Stick which has been taken from him.  Paami and the spirit engage in a series of adventures, and she stands up to his assumptions that he knows what is best for humans.  She protests when he claims that allowing or causing pain and death in the present will result in future happiness.  The sense of suspense and mystery about what is happening–and what is good–is central of the story.  To tell more would lessen its power for other readers.  Trust me and read this book.

Karen Lord is originally from Barbados and has returned there to live.  She has travelled widely and been involved in scientific research and teaching.  The blurb says she writes fantasy to balance all the nonfictional writing she has done.  Reading this book, such a background makes perfect sense.  This is a story about balance and restraints, never about absolutes.

I highly recommend this book as a gentle pleasure or as an exploration of always troubling human questions or, better, as both.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2012 7:48 am

    This sounds like a really great read. I keep hearing little bits about it and meaning to pick it up, but for some reason haven’t yet. It’s definitely on my wish list now!

  2. aartichapati permalink
    September 29, 2012 1:11 pm

    I think Ellen Kushner said on Twitter that she LOVES this book, so that coupled with your review here really makes me want to read it. So sorry we didn’t get this linked up when you wanted – I added it to the schedule for today.

    Thanks for participating!

    • October 5, 2012 11:28 am

      Thanks for getting me in even late. that was great topic.

  3. September 29, 2012 3:49 pm

    A gentle pleasure sounds cool. And I’d deffo trust a rec by Ellen Kushner.

  4. October 6, 2012 11:44 am

    I really really really want to read this book. I heard of it on twitter a few months ago from Ana. Ever since I’ve been impatient to read it. Coupled with your glowing reviews, I’m even more convinced.

  5. October 15, 2012 8:42 pm

    I loved this too! 😀

  6. February 15, 2013 1:38 am

    I am actually grateful to the holder of this web site who has shared
    this impressive piece of writing at here.

  7. April 9, 2013 11:06 pm

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s
    new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

  8. May 6, 2013 12:03 pm

    Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same
    subjects? Thanks a ton!

    • May 7, 2013 8:54 am

      Thanks. I am glad you have enjoyed my posts. They are pretty varied and I am not sure which of the subjects interests you. I also read a wide variety of other sites. You might just check out some of the bloggers who have commented on my articles or on my blogroll. I have started a challenge/reading group called Global Women of Color, that might interest you. Check out the page where people have signed up and left their proposed reading lists. I will be posting what we have reviewed there in a day or two.
      Be more specific about what you like and maybe I can be more helpful.

  9. June 19, 2013 1:53 pm

    This put up actually made my day


  1. The Best of All Possible Worlds, by Karen Lord. « Me, you, and books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: