Small Beer Press are very happy to announce they have acquired the rights to Karen Lord‘s debut novel, Redemption in Indigo, which received the pre-publication BDS$10,000 Frank Collymore Award in Barbados and will be published as a trade paperback original in June 2010.
Redemption in Indigo is a clever and entrancing debut which incorporates folktales to tell the story of a woman who frees herself from a troublesome and capricious husband only to become the unwitting heroine in a fantastic struggle to reconcile the supernatural forces of fate with humanity’s free will.
Jewel Forde interviewed Karen on CBC’s “Mornin’ Barbados” and Karen’s just posted the video on Facebook.
Read the introduction after the break:
A rival of mine once complained that my stories begin awkwardly and end untidily. I am willing to admit to many faults, but I will not burden my conscience with that one. All my tales are true, drawn from life, and a life story is not a tidy thing. It is a half-tamed horse that you seize on the run and ride with knees and teeth clenched, and then you regretfully slip off as gently and safely as you can, always wondering if you could have gone a few metres more.
Thus I seize this tale, starting with a hot afternoon in the town of Erria, a dusty side-street near the financial quarter. But I will make one concession to tradition . . .
. . . Once upon a time – but whether a time that was, or a time that is, or a time that is to come, I may not tell – there was a man, a tracker by occupation, called Kwame. He had been born in a certain country in a certain year when history had reached that grey twilight in which fables of true love, the power of princes, and deeds of honour are told only to children. He regretted this oversight on the part of Fate, but he managed to curb his restless imagination and do the daily work that brought in the daily bread.
Today’s work will test his self-restraint.
“How long has she been . . . absent?” he asked his clients.
In spite of his tact, they looked uncomfortable, but that was to be expected of a housekeeper and butler tasked by their master to trace his missing wife, a woman named Paama. “Nearly two years,” replied the housekeeper. “She said she was going to visit her family, but the entire family has moved away from Erria,” the butler explained. “No forwarding address,” the housekeeper whispered, as if ashamed. “Mister Ansige is distraught.”
Kwame eyed the pair, then glanced down at the papers before him. These were letters from minor chiefs and high-ranking officials politely demanding his assistance. If nothing else, Mister Ansige was well-connected. It was a tawdry shadow of the power he had dreamed of – was the true love of this deserted husband similarly tarnished? And what of his own honour? He was very wary of trying to find people who did not wish to be found, but the names on those scraps of paper ensured that any refusal from him would not be quickly forgotten.
Fairy tales and nancy stories, his adult self said, trying to sneer at these scruples before he had time to question whether it was cowardice or prudence that made him cautious. Do the work and stop your dreaming.
“I’ll see what I can do,” he sighed with a faint grimace.