Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Redemption in Indigo against blue sky

a nutshell: partly inspired by a Sengalese folktale, this is the story of a woman who comes to the attention of the undying ones (‘djombi’) and gains magical powers

a line: “she could still feel the salt water sitting heavy on her heart”

an image: in describing the evil acts of a senior djombi, Lord talks of how such moments act on his boredom as splendidly as champagne on a jaded palate

a thought: the author writes in a very colloquial manner and often directly addresses the reader – at one point, she notes that stories are not a way to live vicariously; they’re meant to be an inspiration, not a substitute

a fact: born in Barbados in 1968, Lord has travelled the world and holds a phD in the sociology of religion; she writes speculative fiction to balance the nonfiction she produces as a research consultant

want to read Redemption in Indigo? visit here

Vertical Motion by Can Xue (tr. Karen Gernant, Chen Zeping)

a nutshell: a fantastic rabbit hole of stories becoming trippier & trippier as the collection goes on, with two common elements throughout: (i) some sense of up/down and (ii) a blend of real/reverie

a line: “Mrs. Yun thought it had discerned her deepest, innermost ideas. Actually, she herself didn’t know exactly what those ideas were”

an image: a cat describes its owner’s belief in equal rights – how they sit at the table with their own bowls and eat the same food, except our narrator avoids beer and dislikes fruit

a thought: a totally invigorating read; each story is like a snowflake – thoroughly idiosyncratic and of its own moment

a fact: Can Xue is a pseudonym meaning ‘dirty snow’ – the writer, Deng Xiaohua, graduated only from primary school after her parents were sent to the countryside during China’s Cultural Revolution; she taught herself English and wrote various publications in the language


want to read Vertical Motion? visit here