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Mother Goose – village style


Trevor Yearwood

Mother Goose – village style

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Karen Lord, who won Barbados’ top literary prize two years in a row, has just launched her first novel – “Redemption In Indigo”. The white and red wine affair at Ocean Spray Apartments in Christ Church recently included some dramatic readings and brisk sales of the book that won the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment’s top prize in 2008. The book, a 224-page speculative fiction work published by Small Beer Press, drew some applause and nods for the beauty of its language and the description of characters and their idiosyncrasies. In the first reading, taken from the opening chapter, painter, actor, cabaret artiste and former broadcaster Patrick Foster, hinted at what was in store for readers.  “ …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 read.  “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.” Lord, whose reading followed that of friend Simon Alleyne, says Redemption in Indigo celebrates ordinary people and everyday magic. It is the story of Paama, whose husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makende, 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.In an Internet report, Lord pointed out that she has known Paama for a very long time, almost as long as she can remember.   “Her story was in an anthology of folktales from all over the world, in the company of such standards as Aesop’s Fables and The Ugly Duckling,” Lord said.   “There were fairy godmothers, talking animals and beautiful princesses (some passive, some plucky).  There were kingdoms, enchantments and adventurous journeys.  And then there was Paama, a ordinary woman living in an ordinary village.”At the launch, writer, critic and lecturer Robert Sandiford hailed the book, saying it added to the volume of new Bajan literature whose writers seem to be trying to “reboot” the novel. Using her academic background in science and astronomy, Lord, who also holds a PhD in theology and religious studies, has been able to channel her creative imagination into a world of fantasy and science fiction into two manuscripts. Her second body of work, “The Best Of All Possible Worlds”, took the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment’s top prize in 2009.  It treats themes of alienation and migration in a futuristic world.

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