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Djombi Jamboree!

July 29, 2011 by Reader's Connection

Redemption in IndigoThere´s a Senegalese folktale about a woman named Paama, a wonderful cook, who is trapped in a marriage to a gluttonous husband. Redemption in Indigo begins with a retelling of that story. Author Karen Lord then uses the tale as a springboard for a high dive into the world of djombis. Not zombies. Djombis.

“Why should I encourage you in this inappropriate interest in beings you cannot fully understand?” Lord asks near the end of the book. She has to be kidding. She has spent the previous 180 pages encouraging us to wonder about these beings, who influence human life in all sorts of ways. And who sometimes act through insects as well.

There are power struggles among the djombis. One of them awards Paama the strangely powerful Chaos Stick, which she hadn’t asked for and doesn’t understand; and another djombi wants the stick back.

I may not fully understand the ladybird (ladybug) spy or any of the other borderline beings who are crowding around Paama, but I’m glad that Redemption in Indigo won the Mythopoeic Societys 2011 Adult Fantasy Award. I hadn’t heard of the society or its annual awards until last week, when Irvington Librarian Steve Bridge sent out an announcement.

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