(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Random Book Review - Redemption In Indigo

I'd like to thank fellow author Albert Berg for pointing me to this book.

Today (okay, not today, like a month ago and I was too busy to write this), I read Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord.

I recommend it.  Like always, there are caveats.  The tone is 'verbal folk tale', which like fairy tales some folks will find too stilted.  It is creative, reproduces the feel of verbal folk tales well, and generally fun.


As above, the book attempts to reproduce the tone of verbal folk tales, specifically the stories of the Caribbean which were a mishmash of the religions of slaves from all over.  This is an ethnic legend set I'm unfamiliar with, and all I recognized was a nod to Anansi from West African religions.  Karen Lord is a sociologist, so this is actually her area of expertise.  I get the impression she did a bit of recasting herself, but it was wonderful to be immersed in another culture's myth system.

The most interesting parts, to me, was the first third of the book, where the heroine leaves her odious husband.  It follows the world-wide folk tale pattern where he comes after her, and she has to come up with clever trick after clever trick.  The wonderful twist is that he's an idiot, and she has to come up with tricks to keep his stupid acts from completely humiliating him.  That would embarrass her in turn, and she doesn't want their breakup to be hostile.  She just wants to get away from a bad marriage.  She's very merciful and compassionate.

After that, the book becomes a little more traditional.  In facing the corrupted chaos spirit, she enters a modern American story pattern.  It's still handled in an unusual way, where the conflict is handled very passively.  He seems to win every battle, showing her time and again how she's wrong, but that she continues to care reawakens his own compassion.  That proves to be the real story.

Because it was more like a modern American novel, that part was less satisfying to me.  The clever and unusual twists also make it slower.  That was really the worst negative of the book.

I'll counter that with the best part of the book.  The oral story telling voice is perfect.  The narrator sometimes stops to chat with you about stuff.  Once in awhile that disrupts immersion, but mostly it has the feel of listening to your grandmother tell you a bedtime story.  I really liked it.

So, to sum up, neat book, unusual in format, but that strangeness is also fascinating.  I recommend it.

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