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Shadow Tag: A Novel by Louise Erdrich

Shadow Tag: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Louise Erdrich

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6844713,957 (3.44)82
Title:Shadow Tag: A Novel
Authors:Louise Erdrich
Info:Harper (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:American literature, fiction

Work details

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

  1. 10
    Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (cafepithecus)
  2. 10
    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: The plot lines are very similar
  3. 10
    A Disorder Peculiar to the Country by Ken Kalfus (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Very modern novel where the events of 9/11 are integral to the plot. Told in alternating views, a unhappily married couple do their best to destroy each other.
  4. 00
    A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: Both novels deal with trust and deception in marriage. Also both take place in an upper midwestern U.S. winter.
  5. 00
    My Wife's Affair by Nancy Woodruff (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Another look at a disintegrating marriage.

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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Gil and Irene America are married with three children, living in Minneapolis. Gil is an artist, made famous and successful by painting a series of Irene which ran the gamut from sexual to lovely. Now, their marriage is falling apart: Irene starts a second, hidden diary and starts using the one at home to manipulate her husband, since she knows he's secretly reading it.

This is one of those stories where the writing/themes takes center stage, the characters come next, and everything else is incidental. The dynamics of Gil and Irene's relationship are complex, and Erdrich uses them to explore this idea of a "shadow" and how the representation of a person may steal his/her soul. Irene, in a way, is also trying to get out of Gil's shadow and his image of her, and trying to keep a part of herself separate and private. I found it both compelling and painful reading, and I never really loved any individual part. It was like a train wreck, knowing everything was unraveling and being unable to walk away. ( )
  bell7 | Feb 14, 2015 |
Interesting story of a dysfunctional relationship between two creative people ( )
  Pickiej | Jan 24, 2015 |
I love Louise Erdrich -- I think she is a wonderful writer -- but this was a sloppy, painful book -- a devastating plot combined with inconsistent writing. I don't recommend it. ( )
  amydelpo | Dec 9, 2014 |
This book tells the story of a marriage that is different from any other that I have read about. Gil is a painter and his wife, Irene, has been the subject of most of his paintings. They drink a lot and argue a lot, generally with Irene begging him to let her leave the marriage and Gil telling her that he is too in love with her to let that happen. Most marriages in fiction are extremes---either people are blissfully in love or they hate each other---but Gil and Irene's marriage feels different because they have the mixture of love, habit, aggravation, boredom and devotion that seems to exist in a lot of real life marriages.
They have three children who circle around their arguing parents in the way the children of troubled marriages do, alternately trying to pacify them and hoping to push them apart. Gil and Irene are both part Native American and one of their children, Riel, fears at any moment that some calamity will occur and begins preparing for it by trying to imitate the old Indian ways she has heard about.
There is an ending and some literary tricks that reminded me some of Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl". However, this book seemed to use those tools in a more measured and refined way.
I really admired the way that the author wove the descriptions of the winter time Minnesota landscape around the story in a way that made the cold seem like another character. ( )
  elmoelle | Aug 9, 2013 |
Strange story about two people severely in need of couple's counseling. ( )
  luvlylibrarian | Jun 27, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
in places, “Shadow Tag” seems more like notes for a novel than fully realized fiction. Elsewhere, though, Erdrich’s unbridled urgency yields startlingly original phrasing (“the christbirthing pinecone air”) as well as flashes of blinding lucidity.
I left the novel with mixed feelings. Despite its psychological acuity, and the tenderness the author has for the kids, I mostly felt trapped in a stifling space with a rather unlikable couple. I hope that in her next novel, Erdrich opens some windows.
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November 2, 2007
Blue Notebook

I have two diaries now.
Falling in love is falling into knowledge. Enduring love comes when we love most of what we learn about the other person and can tolerate the faults they cannot change.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Chronciles the emotional war between Irene America, a beautiful, introspective woman of Native American ancestry, struggling to finish her dissertation while raising three children, and her husband Gil, a painter whose reputation is built on a series of now iconic portraits of Irene.… (more)

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