Thoughts Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord, Jo Fletcher Books 2010, 276 pages Tradeback
WINNER of the Frank Collymore Literary Award 2010
I enjoyed this modern telling of a Senegalese folktale. We have djombi which are like gods? ghosts? — if I had any mythology ‘training’, I might attempt to explain but I don’t so I can’t.
So, this one djombi (let’s call him INDIGO, shall we?) gets a lil too big for his britches and a more powerful djombi takes away one of his more precious powers and gives it to … wait for it… a HUMAN. A human named Paama who has endured a glutton of a husband and decided to risk shame by leaving the man and then somehow is given this ‘power’. She must learn how to use it for good which is likely since the powerful djombi who gave it to her has tested her character so we can be assured that all might end well. But the conflict of the story is when the djombi who is rather upset that he no longer has the power wants it back and comes looking for it. Can Paama hold her own?
We get talking critters and tricksters and examples of human folly compared to genuine goodness of humanity, etc and then some. You may guess the redemption – obviously, I’ve already painted Paama as one of the ‘good ones’ and so we might infer that it is Indigo who comes to see the light. Oh. I gave that away already, didn’t I? It’s the book title, Silly!
I enjoyed this. I also thought it clever that the storyteller speaks directly to the reader as part of the unfolding of the story. Pacing is good. Character development OK. Indigo doesn’t quite turn around slowly or rather, he is described more evil than he might should have been because once he meets Paama, he is almost too nice, although he really wasn’t nice at first. Yea, that doesn’t make sense. What I want to say is that when he first actually considers Paama, he shows what I thought a surprising glimpse of compassion. It was too unexpected and so his unfolding redemption becomes a foretold conclusion even when he himself doesn’t see it. Even if it IS the title of the book.
Whatever, I enjoyed it, none the less.
Other books I want to read with INDIGO in the title: Indigo: In Search of the Color That Seduced the World, Indigo by Beverly Jenkins, John D MacDonald’s Dress Her in Indigo.
RATING: Four pieces of pie. Should I try to concoct a Ginger Lime Pie? or go with Blueberry for the indigo color? Hmmmmm…..
THANKS RUTHIELLA for sending this to me! You deserve a piece of pie.
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