Indigo: In Search of the Color That Seduced the World
For almost five millennia, in every culture and in every major religion, indigo-a blue pigment obtained from the small green leaf of a parasitic shrub through a complex process that even scientists still regard as mysterious-has been at the center of turbulent human encounters.
Indigo is the story of this precious dye and its ancient heritage: its relationship to slavery
I kept hoping it was going to get better. But it didn't.
The author is not very self aware. As an adopted child of mixed race she obsesses about a cultural heritage she wishes she was a part of. Then an affair with a college professor sends her on a quest for indigo. And she gets a Fullbright Scholarship to do so. And just so you don't forget that she has a Fullbright she mentions it over and over.
it's a lovely piece of travel writing about a woman's journey through Africa trying to find indigo dyed fabric as a sometimes embarrassing obsession. you learn her family history, her past relationships, the friends she makes and many, many pages of her gazing longingly at beautiful cloth from a distanc ...more
This is the first book for which I've begun keeping a "Fulbright count." What is it? Ah. Glad you asked. It's a count of the number of times Ms. McKinley refers to her Fulbright, to how great it is to h ...more
Worse, my own hunger to learn about indigo is far from satisfied. This book is not - as advertised - about indigo at all. It's just another spiritual memoir in a foreign country. Smart, pretty girl goes searching for some ...more
Unfortunately, Catherine McKinley’s “Indigo” is another one of those books that could go grossly overlooked because it’s informative. Truly her search for indigo revealed the severe tie between cloth and world history everywhere.
A reader will get much more than the story of indigo in the world of textiles. In this narrative ethnography, full of desire and color, the reader will be introduced to the Nigerian medical doctor who discovers a cure for AIDS but then just a few pages later the reader ...more
I expected this to be a story about INDIGO -- but it was only a minor ...more
In the first few pages she mentioned about being a prof of creative writing, right then it was an oh no, and a no shit moment combined.
I really don't care that she feel in love with New Orleans or that she went out to buy a small ...more
You will learn that the color of Levis was originally brough to us by indigofera, a plant that grows all over the world but the best sources are India and West Africa. Did you know that Betsy Ross' first flag was created wit ...more
To begin with, I was really excited that I won this book. It sounded fascinating! I feel like I was misled. I was under the impression that I would be learning about indigo, not about some lady's adventure in Africa.
This book read like a very bad memoir. As someone that knows nothing about African geography, I was completely lost with all of the references to the countries, regions and villages. A map would have improved this experience some.
"The war (she's referring to the Revolutionary War) would mark the beginning of the weakening of American indigo profits, also hastened by the invention of the cotton gin in 1974." The cotton gin was invented in 1794. Didn't anyone proof this book?
On page 3, she mentions Gandhi joining the Indigo Revolt of 1859 as his first civil action, but he wasn't bor ...more
I was most interested in the photos of the indigo cloth she had purchased in her journey, in the patterns. As an artist, it has inspired me to find a way to incorporate indigo into some of my own work. It is an arresting color, and that was what "seduced" me to read the book. By ...more
As others have mentioned, the dialogue is tiresome-o!
I would not recommend this book.
The novel is so well written; a combination of biography, history textbook, and living map of Africa.
I have never felt called to visit Africa, but I would love to being to experience even a portion of what Catherine McKinley did.
Anyway, I felt like she was going to go more in depth with her personal heritage and her Russian Jewish ancestors in regards to the whole hunt for indigo, but that was barely mentioned at all.
I am also very surprised she did not ev ...more
So instead the core of this book was her found family in Accra. I could have read a whole book about this, it was lovely. The rest of it was somewhat disjoin ...more
Catherine McKinley is from my neck of the woods, and shares a passion I have had since the 1960s - cloth. Her research is not wimpy look-it-up, make some phone calls, make a chart. She moved to Africa and studied and collected and lived events that make cloth cloth. Finding proper proper indigo wasn't exactly easy. Hoffman, ICI, the German dye giants, and Vlisco, the Dutch print giant made proper cloth passe. Mass market appeal. But there are still great artists a ...more
One big take away? The importance of cloth - as currency, prestige, and as used in ritual.
Yes, she was looking for indigo, but she wasn't rely interested in the actual dyeing process, but more how it affected people's lives and the economy. But also, she desired to own bits and pieces of this indigo cloth.
Overall I enjoyed the book, especially after I decided ...more
As such, it's not that bad. I still feel I may be a little generous in my rating, but don't want to rate a book lower than three stars when it wasn' ...more
The book was tedious however because I don't understand the author's search for meaning and the story finished nicely, and is one I will probably remember, but overall didn't really capture my spirit.
not what I was expecting at all. and not esp. interesting, unless you like ethnography.