The Se­cret of the Pur­ple Lake

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews -

Yaba Ba­doe, Gbo­la­han Adams (Il­lus­tra­tor) Cas­sava Repub­lic Press (APRIL) Soft­cover $9.95 (93pp), 978-1-911115-31-1

Start­ing with the ad­ven­ture of a lit­tle girl who must find and re­trieve her fa­ther’s bones from the bot­tom of the ocean, The Se­cret of the Pur­ple Lake is a se­ries of five com­pelling sto­ries by Yaba Ba­doe. Each story has the rhythm and style of a folk­tale from long ago and far away. Each is en­ter­tain­ing, with magic and dan­ger­ous quests, and char­ac­ters who are not en­tirely in con­trol of their own des­tinies. Each also of­fers a moral les­son about how those who do not fit within the norms of so­ci­ety can find joy.

The sto­ries take place in very dif­fer­ent ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing Ghana, Orkney, Nor­way, Spain, and Thai­land, and yet they are all in­ter­con­nected, with the mi­nor char­ac­ters in one story be­com­ing the cen­tral char­ac­ters of an­other. In this way, Ba­doe of­fers an en­joy­able and thor­oughly sat­is­fy­ing op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the fates of some in­ter­est­ing cre­ations, such as a gen­tle Vik­ing who is turned into a wal­rus in one story, and who seeks out and finds true love in an­other.

The sto­ries have clear, easy-to-fol­low nar­ra­tives. There is a no­table gap in the sec­ond story, which con­cerns the king of Orkney and his de­sire for sons: From one page to the next, a fourth daugh­ter is born and the queen dis­ap­pears—but this gap is ex­plained in a later nar­ra­tive that fea­tures the queen as its pro­tag­o­nist.

Lovely, evoca­tive de­scrip­tions—“fly­ing within the clouds is like danc­ing on vapour and glid­ing above them feels like kiss­ing the sun”—fill the text. A se­ries of black-and-white il­lus­tra­tions by Gbo­la­han Adams com­ple­ment the sto­ries and pro­vide vis­ual in­ter­est.

The Se­cret of the Pur­ple Lake is a plea­sure to read. Each highly orig­i­nal story takes place in a world of magic and won­der with a cast of fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters who find un­ex­pected paths to their des­tinies.

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