starlady: Anna Maria from PoTC at the helm: "bring me that horizon" (bring me that horizon)
Lord, Karen. Redemption in Indigo. New York: Small Beer Press, 2010.

I won a copy of this book and of Karen Lord's newest novel, The Best of All Possible Worlds, from her British publisher on Twitter last month. Thanks, Jo Fletcher Books!

Redemption in Indigo is the story of Paama, a woman whose decision to leave her gluttonous husband (partly because he doesn't appreciate her cooking--the problem is not his appetite, but the size of his soul) forms the beginning of a saga that eventually involves the Indigo Lord, a djombi whose control over the Chaos Stick has been revoked due to his penchant for not appreciating it. Along the way, Paama's sister, parents, a hunter, the Trickster, and assorted other djombi and mortals make their appearances--it's a novel that never quite gives away where it's going, which I very much appreciated.

Partly I suspect this unpredictability derives from the novel's being inspired by a Senegalese folk-tale that I don't know (things I know about Senegal: terribly few), and partly because the story is framed as the performance of an oral storyteller, a griot as they are called in some cultures, and the oral quality allows the characterization and the story to expand and contract, to flatten and thin out, as the rhythm of the narrative demands. Although it isn't quite as "thick" as a more conventional novel, there is plenty to sink one's teeth into in terms of themes and in particular the voice of the narrator, which is by turns humorous, sly, and eventually, when the fantastical elements of the plot get to be too much, resigned to unreality.

I've never been a big fan of fairy tales, but I certainly enjoyed this book, and I would definitely recommend it to people who like retold tales, particularly retold tales that aren't Euro-American. I'm very much looking forward to The Best of All Possible Worlds.

More reviews: oyceter's
Interview with Karen Lord by [personal profile] shveta_writes