When Irene America discovers that her husband has been reading her diary, she begins a secrets Blue Notebook, as much the truth about her life and her marriage as the Red Diary is a farce. Alternating between these two records, "Shadow Tag" is an eerily gripping novel.When Irene America discovers that her husband has been reading her diary, she begins a secrets Blue Notebook, as much the truth about her life and her marriage as the Red Diary is a farce. Alternating between these two records, "Shadow Tag" is an eerily gripping novel.Read Less
I am a huge fan of Louise Erdrich, but I don't think I'll ever be able to read this one again. Shadow Tag is the profoundly disturbing story of a marriage, and by extension, a nuclear family, that crumbles to bits. I got through the story because Erdrich is a master wordsmith and storyteller, but the subject was just so bleak that I was glad when I finished. Erdrich excels at taking the dark and morose and spinning readable stories out it, so I expected sadness, but for me, this tragedy just could not be elevated by her prose. There's a lot to recommend the book in terms of characterization and eloquent language, but I just had a knee-jerk reaction to this book and did not enjoy it as much as many other reviewers did.
Apr 28, 2011
This very readable novel by Louise Erdrich may not be up to her usual standard, but it is still an excellent read. Her use of language is spectacular. You will get involved with her characters and think about them long after you've finished reading the book.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-11-02 Erdrich's bleak latest (after The Plague of Doves) chronicles the collapse of a family. Irene America is a beautiful, introspective woman of Native American ancestry, struggling to finish her dissertation while raising three children. She is married to Gil, a painter whose reputation is built on a series of now iconic portraits of Irene, but who can't break through to the big time, pigeonholed as a Native American painter. Irene's fallen out of love with Gil and discovers that he's been reading her diary, so she begins a new, hidden, diary and uses her original diary as a tool to manipulate Gil. Erdrich deftly alternates between excerpts from these two diaries and third-person narration as she plots the emotional war between Irene and Gil, and Gil's dark side becomes increasingly apparent as Irene, fighting her own alcoholism, struggles to escape. Erdrich ties her various themes together with an intriguing metaphor-riffing on Native American beliefs about portraits as shadows and shadows as souls-while her steady pacing and remarkable insight into the inner lives of children combine to make this a satisfying and compelling novel. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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