Small Beer Press
Our Heroine is one Paama, an excellent cook who is cursed with a husband who has no appreciation for her cooking. (He tends to inhale food, not taste it. This would be sheer agony to anyone who had pride in her cooking.) Because of this and many other reasons, all of them related in some way to her husband, she has returned home to her family.
Her husband, who is a glutton of epic proportions, and a failure at life, persists in trying to get her back. After sending many, many people after her, he decides to go to the village himself, where he manages to get himself into trouble by stealing food and livestock. (He is his own worst enemy.) Paama is forced to find new and inventive ways of keeping him out of trouble, which is one of the things that drew in the attention of spirits called “djombi.”
One of these spirits has become unhappy in general with the human race and is refusing to do his job. He is a spirit of fortune and chance and his most visible characteristic is that he has decided that he wants to be indigo. His primary tool is an item called the Chaos Stick, which is given into Paama’s keeping by the spirits. What happens next is a complicated sequence of events that ends with the spirit sweeping Paama off on a trip around the world in an effort to make her give him back the Chaos Stick. Paama is not interesting in giving the stick back, because as far as she can tell, giving him the stick would do more harm than good.
Meanwhile, a trickster spider who has gotten involved in all of this, finds that he might have gotten in over his head.
This novel is a very short, fast read; I managed to finish it in only a few hours. The narrative style is of the first person “story teller is talking directly to you, and will occasionally demand a drink,” variety, and suits the story perfectly. There are some very funny moments, particularly when Paama is trying to keep her husband Ansige out of trouble, (though not always with complete success).