Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord

Continuing my reading of the 2011 World Fantasy Award winners, I just finished Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord.  My local library was tasteful enough to pick up a copy.  Reading the award nominees has really helped stretch my reading taste, and this little morsel worked well for me.

The book is based on a Senegalese folk tale, but the author is from Barbados and flavors that in heavily.  Paama is a woman of good and wholesome spirit, who was made a poor match in her endlessly hungry husband.  She has left him to live with her family, but he finally comes to find her.  He is just a fool in this story, though, as the gods (the djombi) decide to involve themselves in her life.  She is given the Chaos Stick, the power to influence events in unlikely ways.  This power had belonged to another djombi, and their interaction over his attempts to recover it provide the meat of the story.

The story is pretty light, overall, no serious pain or ugliness.  It meanders to a beginning and end, which the storyteller makes plain is on purpose.  I feel better for having read it, though I don't know that I will remember it for very long.

I was intrigued by the author's biography.  She has done many things and is now in academia, and writes on the side.  This is just the sort of book one can get from an author who does not write fiction for a living.  It is done purely on its own terms.  Read it as a good counterpoint to full-on professional writing like Guy Gavriel Kay or the Wheel of Time series.

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