Thursday, July 14, 2011
Synopsis From Publishers Weekly:
"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"
Have you ever read a book and found it absolutely exhausting? It was very dark, so sad, no likable characters.......well you get the picture. I guess what I'm saying is that I didn't really like the book. It has its merits... the writing is excellent and the story itself keeps the reader engaged the entire way through. But the novel itself was just much too depressing and sad for my tastes. With a book as melancholy as Shadow Tag, I personally need some hope sprinkled in somewhere and I simply did not find any. That being said, for the right reader this book could work perfectly, so don't discount it just because it wasn't for me. For sure there's a lot to discuss here, so if you read it, I would recommend reading it with a group