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Redemption in Indigo

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,374 ratings  ·  479 reviews
Paama's husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents' home in the village of Makendha, now he's disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn. When Paama leaves him for good, she attracts the attention of the undying ones – the djombi – who present her with a gift: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle fo ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Small Beer Press (first published July 6th 2010)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: blog
What a lukewarm cup of "meh." After all of the stellar reviews, I just knew this was going to be ah-may-zing, but, alas, it's basically a fable. Ever since Paulo Coelho's New Agey-craptastic The Alchemist, me + fables = nervous twitch. Because I start to develop a Community's Jeff Winger like aversion to the feeling that someone's trying to teach me something--and I never learn anything! This didn't turn out to be as didactic as The Alchemist because it's more focused on the storytelling than on ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Spencer Orey
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The prose in this book has a gentleness that makes it a real delight to read, especially in the beginning.

Without spoilers, I'll say that this story starts as a kind of Senegal-inspired folk tale but quickly shapeshifts and goes to surprising places. As a story, it's a little inconsistent and full of often-passive characters, but at the same time, it's also made of several connected tales that spin together dazzlingly, even again, if they never quite form a whole.

But when it shines, it shines, a
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
This is a fable, almost a fantasy with an all knowing narrator/story teller. I must admit I am sometimes wary of fantasies (remember The Alchemist!!), but I enjoyed this one. It is a reworking of a Senegalese tale, “Ansige Karamba the Glutton”, the main protagonist being Paama, his wife. She is driven away by his greed and selfishness and returns to her family home. She is noticed by the djombi (undying ones), some of whom gives her the Chaos Stick, a totem that has some power. However,
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There is a point in Redemption in Indigo when the omniscient narrator says that “tales are meant to be an inspiration, not a substitute”. It is a meaningful line and one that sticks around longer than expected. It is one line among many others within this novel that provokes the reader and stimulates a certain level of engagement about the nature of storytelling and reader’s expectation. It is also an appropriately self-descriptive line because Redemption in Indigo is inspiring.

The story draws i
Allison Hurd
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This has been a book I've meant to read for ages and I'm so glad I finally got to it. It is exactly what I needed right now--fun, hopeful, playful, and whimsical. Just delightful.

CONTENT WARNINGS (pretty mild this time!): (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The writing style. It's basically a "transcribed" oral retelling and gosh it worked beautifully for me in this context. It hit all the right beats for the moments being described, and
K.J. Charles
A magical read, not surprised it won so many prizes. It's a sort of fairytale with an oral-tradition feel narration, about a woman who is briefly given the power of chaos when the spirit of Chance stops doing his job properly. Wise, funny, immensely readable, written with deceptive simplicity: if you like T Kingfisher, or books that centre human decency without ever being rose-tinted, you'll love this. ...more
Based on a Senagalese folk tale, Redemption in Indigo follows a similar quirky story telling style to weave an intricate and sweet little story about a woman named Paama. Paama is the elder of two daughters, married to a not-overly-impressive lord. The match seemed like it would work well enough, though, since Paama is an exceptional cook and Ansige loves food. But after ten years of feeding his insatiable maw, Paama has had enough and returns home to her family. Ansige follows with his moronic ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Lord is a Caribbean author who weaves a Senegalese folk tale into a somewhat modern retelling. Not having read the original folktale, I'm not sure where one leaves off and another begins, but the story of Paama ("she could cook") and her foolish glutton husband was an easy and entertaining read.

All of these quotations are food related, a placeholder for when I bake something Senegalese.

"[Paama] could cook. An inadequate statement. Anyone can cook, but the true talent belongs to those who are cap
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lord mentions that chapters two through four are loosely based on a Senegalese folk tale, and the entire book has that same feel. From the very first page, Lord creates the illusion not of turning the pages, but of sitting back and listening to a master storyteller, one who has no compunctions about addressing the audience directly. It’s a voice that works perfectly for Paama’s story.

I loved this book, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time figuring out what to say about it, beyond the fact th
Ranting Dragon
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: michael

Redemption in Indigo is the debut novel from Barbadian writer Karen Lord (I did have to Google how to refer to someone from Barbados). It has won several literary awards that are unfamiliar to me, including the Crawford Award for best fantasy novel by a new writer. Redemption in Indigo was also chosen as one of Amazon’s Top 10 science fiction and fantasy books of 2010 and has been nominated for the Locus Award.

I feel woefully unqualified to review this boo
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a magical wicked read. This book is a strikingly new folktale written for grownups. The story line is very enchanting moving between different locations, characters, relationships, Gods, it’s very whimsical.
The author honed a well rounded characters and events that explore themes of hope, redemption and resilience after experiencing trauma.
This book exhibits features of a genre called Africanfuturism or Afrofuturism. It basically means “a way of imagining possible futures through a black
Krista D.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this for r/Fantasy bingo because I needed something for the "retelling" square. I am so glad I picked this one!

I really liked the beginning and the ending of this. The middle, I admit, was a little duller and I got bored a couple of times. But not nearly enough to stop reading. One of the things I loved about this was the narrator's storyteller voice. The narrator is funny, fun, and there to chat you up. The story itself was a nice unfolding of story after story.
Jeannette Nikolova
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

Not the best book from my adventures around the world, but definitely an interesting one. It was pretty tough to decide which country to put Redemption in Indigo for, as the author is from Barbados, but the book is based on Senegalese folklore. Ultimately, I decided to go with the author's home country and opt for another Senegalese book in the future, hopefully one, written by an author whose native country is Senegal.

Redemption in Indigo is a short
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've been meaning to read something by Karen Lord for a while. For some reason, the fact that a group I participate in a lot on GR is reading one of her other books (which I also own) next month made me read this one. I won't question it too much, because I enjoyed this a lot. It's a short/quick read, and it's different: it isn't at all your run of the mill fantasy. I read it without knowing any of the background stuff about it being based on a Senegalese story, and I don't regret that -- instea ...more
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
So, I was out of town this weekend and found this book available as an audio file from my local library. I chose this one because it was only 6 hours long and because it fits many fantasy bingo categories (magical realism, fantasy that isn't western culture, under 3k reviews, book published in the 2000s). Anyway - if I had been reading this as an actual book, I would have quit, but since I had nothing else to do for my 10 hour round trip drive I persevered just so I could check off one of the mo ...more
David Hebblethwaite
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Redemption in Indigo is Karen Lord’s interpretation/extension of a Senegalese folktale. We begin with the gluttonous Ansige tracking down his wife Paama, who had left him; after being tricked and humiliated three times by djombi (spirit creatures, ‘gods’), Ansige takes his leave. That’s where the traditional folktale ends. Lord then continues Paama’s story by having a djombi present her with the Chaos Stick, an artefact which can manipulate the small possibilities of chaos – and Paama uses it wi ...more
Craig Laurance
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
A charming retold Sengalese folktale, very lighthearted and magical. A whiff of Tutula, a sprinkle of Okri, a dash of LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, told in a witty, wise storytellers voice. Tricksters and magic and morality tales abound in this colorful story.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read fantasy and science fiction, in part, to expose my mind to new perspectives, to the situations of people with very different backgrounds to my own, who nevertheless have a basic kinship to me so that I can identify with their struggles. It seems natural, then, to expand my reading beyond British and American writers of European descent, and take in some fiction by people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds from my own.

There's a small, but flourishing, group of Caribbean writers
David Anderson
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A delightful reworking of an African folk tale, with the word choices and rhythm and flow of the narration imparting the same feeling you might get from listening to a master oral storyteller, complete with appropriately placed periodic asides by the narrator to comment on the action and the characters' motivations. Warm, witty, and wise, with a deep appreciation of the importance and power of empathy. Highly recommended. ...more
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a very enchanting tale and an enjoyable read. The author has incorporated an interesting collection characters nicely into this story. Some of the writing is truly excellent, as in chapter 20 where the story teller relates the heroine's culinary skills:

"I have heard tales of how magnificently she can cook. I could relate for you a description of a morsel of her honey-almond cake, a delicacy which is light enough to melt on the tip of the tongue and yet it lingers on the palate with its
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
My favorite of Karen Lord's books is still The Best of All Possible Worlds, but I also really enjoyed Redemption in Indigo (especially the first half, which I LOVED). Though there was more focus on storytelling than characterization, Paama was a great main protagonist--resourceful, compassionate, and overall admirable. The book was often quite humorous, but it was less light in the second half.

Full Review:
Ali George
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a lot. I loved the folk tale framing with a bit of chaos theory chucked in. I liked the narrator who merrily took the mickey out of storytelling conventions. I loved the heroine, Paama, a practical and kind woman who kept confounding the expectations of all the other characters. I also enjoyed the volume and diversity of female characters, particularly the Sisters. The stand out passage for me was actually when Kwame asked them to describe Paama and they told him of her courage an ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Redemption in Indigo begins with an Introduction so frank and direct that for a couple pages I thought it was a preface by Karen Lord herself but, no, actually, it's the beginning of the book and this narrator is simply very self-aware about her storytelling and the reader's storylistening. She's certainly one of the best omniscient narrators I've read.

It is in these opening chapters, in which Lord, as this narrator, retells the Senegalese folktale "Ansige Karamba the Glutton," that the narrator
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folklore

While loosely based on the folklore of Senegal, this book is rather nebulous in the time and place of its setting. It has a lot of markings of a traditionally told fairy tale, using a style of storytelling that was already traditional around the time Homer was telling the Odyssey, but still feels fresh and new today, partly by giving agency to the type of people who are either invisible or props in most stories.

The story follows the young woman Paama as she struggles to deal with the fact her ma
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
This book came to my attention when it was nominated in SFFBC as a Book of the Month. It didn't win, but I was interested enough in it that I decided to go ahead and read it anyway.

In the end, I just felt like it was "ok". I liked the idea of the story, and it had potential - but I didn't really click with the writing style. It was written as if someone was orally telling the story, and it had several diversions and whatnot.

I think my biggest issue, really, was that there was no subtext. Every l
Zen Cho
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: by-poc, sff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
else fine
This book gives you exactly the same feeling of enchantment you get from listening to a really great storyteller, which is a very hard thing to capture in print. It's got all the right pauses and asides, the right amounts of humor and suspense and romance and intrigue, and an uplifting but uncheesy moral. Absolutely magical. ...more
Jan 12, 2011 marked it as to-read
I heard this described as "It's a retold fairy-tale from Senegal and the language is gorgeous - poetic but in an elegant and clear way, not a tangle of adjectives and weird metaphors. A bit Ursula Le Guin like. Also quite witty and meta. The plot is a bit of a mess, but I didn't much care." Sounds good to me! ...more
Paama is a marvelous cook who's married to glutton. When some djomba notice how deftly she deals with her husband, they give her the chaos stick, and from there magic happens.

Redemption in Indigo is based on Sengalese folklore, and I appreciated the glimpse into a world and folklore I'm unfamiliar with. It's told a bit simply for my tastes, but has that oral folklore feel. 3.5/5
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Into the Forest: Redemption in Indigo - No spoilers 19 18 Mar 26, 2018 06:24AM  
Into the Forest: Redemption in Indigo - Spoilers 1 11 Jan 13, 2018 06:50AM  
Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: Redemption In Indigo 44 96 Jun 30, 2012 08:56PM  

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