Redemption in Indigo, By Karen Lord

Magical realism without the realism

You realise you're reading something pretty odd when a voice interrupts two characters in a bar, saying "Pardon me for eavesdropping", and the voice belongs to a giant spider. "A handsome specimen standing over a metre tall at the shoulder."

This re-telling of a Senegalese folk tale features Paama – a young wife who's left her pathologically gluttonous husband and acquired a Chaos Stick – several powerful djombi (magic spirits), poets, farmers, nuns and journeys in space and time. It's magic realism without the realism. It's not entirely my cup of tea, but Karen Lord is certainly doing something different and that's to be applauded.

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