Redemption in Indigo
by Karen Lord
Small Beer Press
Trade Paperback – $16
I have often said that I love novels that can take me to a different time, or a different place, or both. Redemption in Indigo does that and more–it takes me to a different culture. These are the best of all. Novels like Clavell’s Shogun are in this class, along with Kaye’s The Far Pavilions (which my father recommended to me but I have never read), and Grave’s I, Claudius. Redemption in Indigo takes the tradition of all of these and adds the sparkle of fantasy.
I realize that I’ve placed this novel in lofty company. But Redemption in Indigo is wonderful. It begins after Paama has left her husband Ansige, and returned to her parent’s village. Ansige has hired a legendary tracker to find her and when the tracker reports her location, Ansige goes looking for her.
Ansige is a glutton to an extreme degree. Although he doesn’t know it, he is bedeviled by tiny tricksters who whisper temptation and self-destruction into his hear. He has no will to resist and will do the most amazing things to get and keep food for himself. When he finally gets to Paama’s village, she tries to cover for his glaring acts of idiocy. Eventually, they prove beyond even her skills and she tells him that she has left him for good.
The tricksters have no effect on her. And mysterious deity-like watchers decide that she is the right person to be custodian of the Chaos Stick.
Of course, the previous custodian will do anything to get it back. And did I mention he’s a god? The gods are called djombi, and they can travel effortlessly between time and space. And very soon, Paama finds herself facing him.
Ms. Lord writes in an unusual storytelling style that surprised me at first–especially when she addressed the reader, directly. Some call this authorial intrusion, but I’ve always enjoyed this style, and the unknown narrator becomes another character in the book, especially in the very end.
Although the woman on the cover is dark-skinned, race never plays a large factor in this story. Ms. Lord leaves skin color entirely up to the reader, with the exception of the Indigo Lord. But the culture, she does describe. The village where Paama lives is a dusty farming community. Water must be fetched. To make dumplings, you must first grind the meal with mortar and pestle, and grinding is done in the village court. And a wedding feast is held in a tent.
Redemption in Indigo will whisk you to the other side of the world, immerse you in another culture and take you back in time. It was a dreamy voyage through the senses. I highly recommend it. And when you have finished reading it, be sure to tip the storyteller.
5 Thoughts to “Debut Review: Redemption in Indigo”
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Mmm, sounds interesting.
Wow–this looks wonderful! I will definitely go looking for it.
Oh, does look interesting. And what an intriguing title!
The title is well-chosen and has definite meaning. Wish I could say more, but I did keep the title in mind as I read it.
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