Redemption in Indigo, Karen Lord, Book Review | Overbooked [CC]

Welcome back to dead good book reviews. 
I’m Judith and you’re watching,  
another episode of overbooked the series where 
I talk about every single book on my shelves,  
because chaos. Today we are talking 
about Karen Lord’s redemption in Indigo.  
So quick disclaimers before we start, I was gifted 
a copy of this book, nobody’s paying me to talk  
about books and all opinions are my own. I’m also 
going to keep this as spoiler free as humanly  
possible. I actually don’t think this is the kind 
of book you can really spoil. But maybe that’s  
just me. However, if you do want to go in knowing 
absolutely nothing, obviously click away now.  
It’s fine. But I will also link the story 
graph for this book in case you want to check  
if there are any content warnings, the dog is 
maybe coming to say hello, nope, she’s going  
back to bed. Cool, it’s going to be a little bit 
of a different one. Normally, I script overbooked  
videos. But I found that with this book, I found 
it really hard to stick to that original structure  
and to pin everything down. So you’re just going 
to get a bit of stream of consciousness. And I  
hope that’s okay, and editing Judith’s gonna edit 

into something super coherent and wonderful,  
but I will try and vaguely stick to some sort 
of plan. Um I just don’t know what I think about  
this book. And I want to parse that out. Live in 
front of a camera, though not live for you. So  
this originally came out in 2010. So it’s getting 
on a little bit we’re 12 years in, and it is a  
retelling of a Senegalese folktale with a whole 
heap of other stuff rolled into it. And there  
are lots of different ways you could describe this 
book, I think, folklore, fairy tale oral history,  
sit around the campfire, let me tell you the 
story would be the shelf I would put it on  
in the shelf that is just me trying to describe 
books. There are a lot of different shelves. This  
sits on one of them. Let me read you the blurb so 
you can get a gist of what’s going on. Because if  
I try and explain it with the energy I have 
right now, you’ll never have any idea worth  
noting. I’ve never heard any of these names said 
out loud and I couldn’t easily access a recording  
of some of the names. So if I pronounce them 
wrong, I do apologize. Paama’s husband is a fool  
and a glutton bad enough that you followed her to 
her parents home in the village of Makhenda. 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 Djombie, who present her with the gift,  
the chaos stick, which allows her to manipulate 
the subtle forces of the world. Unfortunately,  
not all the Djombi are happy about this gift. 
The Indigo Lord believes this power should be  
his and his alone, and he sets about trying 
to persuade Paama to return the chaos stick,  
bursting with humor and rich in fantastic detail. 
Redemption. Indigo is a cover contemporary fairy  
tale from a dynamic new voice Lords’ world of 
spider tricksters and indigo immortals inspired in  
part by Senegalese folktale is fresh, surprising 
and utterly original. That’s the broad strokes of  
the story. I think the story is actually in 
some ways more than that, and in some ways,  
much simpler than that in a really interesting 
way. And the best way I think I can describe how  
this book feels is that you are sat at a campfire, 
around a dinner table, you are sat with people,  
and someone is telling you a story. And I think 
that you have to really be on board for that,  
to enjoy the reading experience of this book. 
And the first time that I read this book back in  
2020? , it was either 2020 or 2021, I can’t quite 
remember. Um I don’t think I was quite prepared  
for that. And I hadn’t quite done. I hadn’t quite 
got myself into the reading mindset for that. And  
I found this a little bit confusing, and I didn’t 
really like the characters. And I was kind of  
like, it was fine. I’ll probably unhaul it on my 
next unhaul. And I realized that I needed to make  
this video, and I thought I would do a reread. 
And with that I really tried to frame it as  
I think it really helped actually, that I knew 
Angela loved this. And I wanted to go into it  
with as open a mind as possible, even though 
I’d read it already once and I was like, Okay,  
I’m putting myself in a better situation a less 
stressful situation than I was in last time,  
I’m going to let this book happen. And 
I’m not going to try and focus too much in  
on different elements. I’m just going to let 
this story happen. And I think that works much  
better. And I think the way that the narrator 
in the story focuses in on really small details,  
and then pulls out to the wider, wider situation, 
you can feel the flow of a story through this that  
really feels very aural, as opposed to feeling 
like something that’s been written down and  
structured and all of the above. It’s not that 
it’s not carefully written. And it’s not that  
I think that could only be experienced out loud. 
But the feel of this book is very different from  
a lot of other things that I have read. I also, 
again, examining why I didn’t like it the first  
time and why I liked a lot more this reread. 
I think I got very stuck on the aspect of the  
story that is retelling. And it features a 
character who I don’t enjoy very much. And  
I just he’s meant to be very horrible, is 
Paama’s original husband, he’s meant to be  
not a pleasant man. And I was reading it. 
I was like, I don’t like him and I don’t  
want to spend any more time with him and please 
stop making me read his story and actually on a  
reread I realized that you don’t actually have to 
spend that much time with him. And there are more  
important aspects of the story to focus on. And 
that was definitely a much better experience. So
if you find the beginning of this 
book, a bit of a struggle as I did,  
I think that you will power through You will still 
enjoy this because it does take a little while for  
things to slot together. And for me, it took 
two weeks for me to really understand what the  
core elements of the story was and what the focus 
is. And I think that’s partly because it’s not  
really clear until you’re at the end what you’re 
meant to take from this story and expect multiple  
people take different things from it. But for me, 
I needed to get to the end of a book and go, Okay,  
right, this is this person’s story, they’re 
doing this thing. And this is how it’s going  
to end up. And now I want to follow it through 
again. So in some ways, very glad that I own  
this. And I can now do that again and again and 
get more from it every time which is enjoyable  
experience. For me. I think there’s elements of 
the story that feel very similar to some other  
things I’ve read weirdly, I keep coming back to 
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi. Boys,  
I don’t actually think that’s a very good 
example. Because I did not like those books.  
But in terms of the gods speaking to mortals, and 
that kind of folkloric, sort of version of things.  
That’s what it feels like to me, but done much 
better. I don’t I don’t think I could argue that  
one. It’s done much better. But other than that, 
I don’t think I would ever have picked this up for  
it not for Angela’s recommendation. And I don’t 
think that this is something I’ve read anything  
super similar to this feels very unique on 
my shelves, which is a good thing. Because  
sometimes I do just want a little bit of a palate 
cleanser. It’s still magical. It’s still fairytale  
and folklore, which is one of my favorite things. 
But it’s not. But it’s not super white is probably  
the best way of saying that. But there was just a 
freshness and a uniqueness to this that I really  
appreciated. And it’s made me want to go look into 
more Senegalese folklore and folk tale and just  
see what else is in there. Because there’s a lot 
of things where I know characters from mythology  
because I ate up folklore and mythology 
books when I was a kid, so many of them,  
but always written from a very western 
perspective. And it would be like 50 different  
Greek myths, and then one from somewhere else, 
I would like to do a bit of exploration and see  
where these kind of trickster characters kind of 
Anansi characters play out in different cultures.  
I think that would be really interesting. 
And I’m sure there are books about that. So  
maybe I’ll be looking those up after this is 
done. I think for me, this is a real testament to  
not always giving up on books, because I could 
have said, Look, I didn’t really like redemption  
in indigo, it wasn’t for me. And even on the 
second read, when I was really struggling with  
the first section, I could have gone like eh No, 
I’m done, I’m not going to film a video, I’ll  
find something else to fill that slot. And in the 
end, if I hadn’t powered through, I wouldn’t have  
enjoyed, I wouldn’t have had the enjoyment of the 
last half of this book. And don’t get me wrong.  
I’m a huge fan of DNFing if you’re not enjoying 
something, you can DNF but this i It’s 290 pages,  
I could get to the end, I knew I could. And 
realizing that I was fixating on this one element  
of the book that I wasn’t enjoying this character. 
And that wasn’t what the book was about. Right? I  
wasn’t getting the enjoyment because I wasn’t 
letting myself enjoy it. And it does make me  
wonder how many books in the past that I read 
at the wrong time or that I read that I was just  
finding difficult. It wasn’t actually that the 
book was bad it was that I wasn’t in the right  
place, or that the book started in a different 
place, and then would have been really good at  
the end. It’s made me much more open to some 
of the things on my shelves, I think, which is  
no bad thing, I suppose. That being said, I have 
read some things where I’ve powered through in the  
hope that it would get better and it never did. So 
maybe that’s not a universal experience lounging  
now because I’ve been allowed to blither because 
I didn’t give myself any structure for this.  
Well, do you have any recommendations of other 
books inspired by folklore or collections of  
folklore that aren’t super Western focused? I 
would love to read them. I would love to hear  
those recommendations, please. And thank you 
equally Have you read this Do you have plans  
to I’m really sorry that I cannot in fact link 
you to an Angela review and she does not have a  
public review for this book. But I’m sure that 
it will be in some of her favorite books videos  
from a couple of years ago, I’m 
certain because I’ve definitely seen  
her talk about this book. So that’s someone who’s 
a little bit more probably coherent talking about  
it while you’re down there commenting. If you 
haven’t already, please do subscribe. It makes  
me feel loved and appreciated. You can also 
follow me on social media, you can come hang  
out on Discord where we have a wonderful chill 
time talking about books. Nothing makes me feel  
more loved and appreciated to my patrons who 
put up with all of this waffle times like 10
Thank you so much. You guys are the 
best. I think that’s everything.  
That’s all from me and I 
will see you in the next one.  
It’s gonna be some bloopers now. And why 
are you playing with my office chair?

%d bloggers like this: