Redemption in Indigo

Published by: Small Beer Press (6 July 2010) and Jo Fletcher Books/Quercus (1 March 2012)

‘Précis fails to do justice to the novel’s depth, beauty and elegant simplicity. Written from the point of view of an omniscient storyteller in the style of an oral narrative, this is a subtle, wise and playful meditation on life and fate.’
The Guardian (UK)

‘Filled with witty asides, trickster spiders, poets and one very wise woman, Redemption in Indigo is a rare find that you could hand to your child, your mother or your best friend.’
The Washington Post

‘Lord’s first novel is a clever, exuberant mix of Caribbean and Senegalese influences that balances riotously funny set pieces (many involving talking insects) with serious drama initiated by meddlesome supernatural beings. …  Throughout, Lord manages to compress her story while balancing the cosmic and the personal — all with a verve that would be the envy of many veteran novelists.’
New York Times Book Review

‘Lord’s novel is very sprightly from start to finish, with vivid descriptions, memorable heroes and villains, brisk pacing — and an “authorised” epilogue that raises goosebumps along with expectations for a sequel. Iffy or not, that’s clever storytelling.’
Caribbean Review of Books

‘The impish love child of Tutuola and García Márquez. Utterly delightful.’ —Nalo Hopkinson

‘Lord’s debut, a retelling of a Senegalese folktale, packs a great deal of subtly alluring storytelling into this small package.’ —Publishers Weekly (starred review), April 19, 2010

‘This is one of those literary works of which it can be said that not a word should be changed.’ —Booklist (starred review), May 15, 2010

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Karen Lord’s debut novel, which won the prestigious Frank Collymore Literary Prize in Barbados, is an intricately woven tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit.

Paama’s husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makendha, now he’s disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn. When Paama leaves him for good, she attracts the attention of the undying ones—the djombi—who present her with a gift: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle forces of the world. Unfortunately, a wrathful djombi with indigo skin believes this power should be his and his alone.

Bursting with humour and rich in fantastic detail, Redemption in Indigo is a clever, contemporary fairy tale that introduces readers to a dynamic new voice in Caribbean literature. Lord’s world of spider tricksters and indigo immortals, inspired in part by a Senegalese folk tale, will feel instantly familiar—but Paama’s adventures are fresh, surprising, and utterly original.

“Fantasy as a genre does not have boundaries,” writes Lord. “It has roots. You may call it fantasy. I call it life.”

Excerpt: Introduction and first chapter available here at

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The world of Redemption in Indigo will be revisited in a sequel.  The first two chapters of this sequel were published under the title ‘The Labyrinths of Midnight‘ in Bim: Arts for the 21st Century, Volume 2 No. 2 May-November 2009, 53-63.