Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Redemption in Indigo” as Want to Read:
Redemption in Indigo
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Redemption in Indigo

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,910 ratings  ·  378 reviews
A tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit. 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: th ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Small Beer Press (first published July 6th 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Redemption in Indigo, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Redemption in Indigo

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,910 ratings  ·  378 reviews

Sort order
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Jherane Patmore
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not familiar with the original Senegalese folk tale, but this indeed felt like I was listening to a story instead of reading one. I love that style of writing. I'm having a hard time pinpointing exactly what it is I really liked about this book, maybe it's the way Lord challenges fairy tale tropes? Questions what is truly evil? Idk. But this was a lot of fun and it costs less than 200 pages.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-tbr, kindle
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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:
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.
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
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!
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
I would say this almost feels like an extended short story. And I mean that in the best sense. Atmospheric, rhythmic and each word seeming perfectly considered. A real gem.
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This read was for the 2012 Theme Park book club, February theme: Black Women Writing Speculative Fiction.

Karen Lord's novel relies strongly on both Caribbean and Senegalese folklore, both being inexhaustible resources for speculative fiction writers that are sadly too seldom tapped into. Redemption in Indigo tells the tale of one remarkable and yet ordinary woman, her encounter with djombi, which seem to be halfway between poltergeists and skin walkers, and the choices she is consequently faced
3 1/2 Star. The premise of the story was great but I did not care for the narrators voice. It kept me detached from the characters and the actual story.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fairy-tale, fantasy
A retelling of a Senegalese folk tale.

I am a sucker for fairy tales and old tales retold into new and beautiful stories. I was especially delighted by the idea of an African folk tale, as most of the fairy tale retellings are all of Grimm and that ilk.

This is a story told almost as if we are listening to someone telling the story to a crowd of children at her feet, a story born of oral tradition passed on by mouth.

I.... did not like it as much as I would have hoped. It was good, but it was not
Mar 21, 2015 rated it liked it
When the story opens, Paama has left her gluttonous husband Asinge and returned to the home of her parents. Asinge goes to her village to bring her back, but his self-indulgent actions lead to a series of blunders that leave the people of Paama’s village applauding her for leaving her foolish husband. Unbeknownst to Paama and Asinge, Asinge’s actions are being manipulated by spirits.

Meanwhile, the spirit Indigo Lord loses his power, chaos, as punishment for past actions. Indigo Lord becomes upse
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really 4.5 stars.

I liked this book: a lot. I've been working on expanding the ethnic/cultural/sociological base of my reading, and this book fits in nicely to that scheme. There is something deeply appealing to me about the African-based/flavored/inspired fantasy I've read.

Redemption in Indigo is simply lovely. I didn't buy into the initial "narrator addressing the reader" bit at the beginning, as I tend to doubt novels that lean on the narrator as an additional "character." Often it yields dist
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
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  
Around the Year i...: Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord 3 11 Apr 27, 2017 08:37PM  
The Readers: Book #7; Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord 6 39 Jul 11, 2012 12:36PM  
Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: Redemption In Indigo 44 89 Jun 30, 2012 08:56PM  
  • Lifelode
  • The House of Discarded Dreams
  • The Salt Roads
  • The Uncertain Places
  • The Shadow Speaker
  • The Porcelain Dove
  • Filter House
  • A Stranger in Olondria
  • Imaro
  • Redwood and Wildfire
  • Something Rich and Strange
  • Osama
  • Brittle Innings
  • Salt Fish Girl
  • Waking the Moon
  • The Innamorati
  • Racing the Dark (Spirit Binders, #1)
  • Fudoki (Love/War/Death, #2)
“You must never tell people their own stories. They have no interest in them, or they think they can tell them better themselves. Give them a stranger's life, and then they're content.” 13 likes
“All my tales are true, drawn from life, and a life story is not a tidy thing.” 10 likes
More quotes…