Sunil's Reviews > Redemption in Indigo

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
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's review
Jan 08, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 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 shines brightest, with side-splittingly hilarious analyses of characters and direct addresses to the reader, whom she knows may not believe that a spider is talking to men at a bar, DO YOU EVEN TRICKSTER BRO. The tone extends to chapter titles like "Ansige eats lamb and murders a peacock." Ansige is a foolish man, to say the least.

The narrator's presence becomes less pronounced when the real story comes into play: the fool's wife, Paama, a renowned cook (the book is full of mouthwatering descriptions) and no-nonsense kind of woman, comes into possession of a Chaos Stick, and the owner of said stick, a djombi (spirit creature), tries to get it back. And so the games begin!

Redemption in Indigo boasts an assortment of tricksters, which makes the ensuing proceedings quite entertaining, if, naturally, a bit chaotic, though Lord does well extrapolating elements from the folktale she's riffing on to wrangle it all into a coherent narrative. Things keep happening, and they generally have a point, but it's all very light, and what I think is supposed to be the Big Moment for Paama just sort of...happens. In a way, it maintains that folktale sense, not necessarily a deep and incisive look at these characters—though they do have more depth than your typical folktale—but I was hoping for a little more punch. Despite that, it's a deeply satisfying story, thanks to the narrator, who does her best to make sure the reader is deeply satisfied.
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Reading Progress

January 8, 2012 – Shelved
December 23, 2014 – Started Reading
December 24, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
December 24, 2014 – Finished Reading

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