Sunday, 13 January 2019

Redemption in Indigo

Read the World: Barbados

Redemption in Indigo has the feel of a folk tale. The narrator is a storyteller, and often addresses the reader directly, sometimes even to chide you. It starts off by introducing Ansige, Paama's gluttonous husband. Paama has left him and he sets out to her home village to find her. There are several occasions where Ansige's insatiable appetite gets him into trouble, and Paama comes to his rescue with tact and common sense.

Chaos was a far subtler force than most people realised. It would be so easy to sense if it threw off thunderbolts or sent barely sensed thrummings through the fabric of reality, but it was nothing more than the possible made probable.

Many would have ridiculed Ansige, but Paama's skill in smoothing things over attracts the attention of some djombi, who gift her a stirring stick. The young djombi forgets to tell her what it's for, and not it's not for stirring stew. It is a chaos stick, allowing the user to select the best of all possible outcomes.

The stick was taken from another djombi, one who calls himself Lord Indigo, for his skin is a deep blue and he has a high opinion of himself. He wants his chaos back and takes Paama on a journey to show her how dangerous chaos can be in the wrong hands.

I told you from the very beginning that it was a story about choices – wise choices, foolish choices, small yet momentous choices – for with choices come change, and with change comes opportunity , and both change and opportunity are the very cutting edge of the power of chaos.

It shows how there are many possibilities from a single action and so much is up to chance, but also how humans have the power to control their destiny with their own choices. We are not all on a predetermined path. It's loosely based on a Senegalese folk tale, which I'm not familiar with.

I do find with this folky style, that it's difficult to find the characters wholly convincing. It is like a fable, with some humorous parts and some lovely observations. But in the end I felt a bit distanced from it (despite what the storyteller might have told me at the end).

Redemption in Indigo won the Kitschies Best First Novel award in 2012.

ATY: 1. A book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy

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