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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

Shadow Tag

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Shadow Tag Cover

ISBN13: 9780061536090
ISBN10: 0061536091
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

Louise Erdrich's Shadow Tag is a disturbing, heartbreaking, and mesmerizing portrait of a troubled and intense marriage. Irene and Gil are depicted with psychological nuance and in gorgeous detail; it is impossible not to feel deeply about these characters and their world.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Shadow Tag's form and content make for disturbing polarities: Erdrich imposes her exquisite mastery of language, imagery and literary form upon the raw and brutal chaos of mental illness, alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Unlike the rich orchestrations of much of her previous fiction, with its expansive explorations of history, storytelling and social communities, Shadow Tag is chamber music in a minor key: two parents and three children, a family in free fall over the course of one Minnesota winter." Diana Postlethwaite, Ms. Magazine (Read the entire Ms. Magazine review)

Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

Here is the most telling fact: you wish to possess me.

Here is another fact: I loved you and let you think you could.

When Irene America discovers that her husband, Gil, has been reading her diary, she begins a secret Blue Notebook, stashed securely in a safe-deposit box. There she records the truth about her life and her marriage, while turning her Red Diary — hidden where Gil will find it — into a manipulative farce. Alternating between these two records, complemented by unflinching third-person narration, Shadow Tag is an eerily gripping read.

When the novel opens, Irene is resuming work on her doctoral thesis about George Catlin, the nineteenth-century painter whose Native American subjects often regarded his portraits with suspicious wonder. Gil, who gained notoriety as an artist through his emotionally revealing portraits of his wife — work that is adoring, sensual, and humiliating, even shocking — realizes that his fear of losing Irene may force him to create the defining work of his career.

Meanwhile, Irene and Gil fight to keep up appearances for their three children: fourteen-year-old genius Florian, who escapes his family's unraveling with joints and a stolen bottle of wine; Riel, their only daughter, an eleven-year-old feverishly planning to preserve her family, no matter what disaster strikes; and sweet kindergartner Stoney, who was born, his parents come to realize, at the beginning of the end.

As her home increasingly becomes a place of violence and secrets, and she drifts into alcoholism, Irene moves to end her marriage. But her attachment to Gil is filled with shadowy need and delicious ironies. In brilliantly controlled prose, Shadow Tag fearlessly explores the complex nature of love, the fluid boundaries of identity, and one family's struggle for survival and redemption.

Review:

"Erdrich is a true original... [and] one of our major writers." Washington Post Book World

Review:

"Erdrich offers a portrait that's convincing...Shadow Tag is wonderfully, painfully readable and revealing." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"A masterpiece...a captivating work of fiction...Shadow Tag is a devastating portrayal of the circular insanity of romantic obsession...captures that lament in some of Erdrich's most beautiful and urgent writing." Ron Charles, Washington Post

Review:

"A brilliant cautionary tale...Reading it is like watching a wildfire whose flames are so mesmerizingly beautiful that it's almost easy to ignore the deadly mess left behind." Library Journal

Review:

"A fast-paced novel of exceptional artistic, intellectual, and psychological merit...Nowhere have love's complications been better illustrated than in the raw honesty of Shadow Tag." Boston Sunday Globe

Synopsis:

When Irene America discovers that her husband has been reading her diary, she begins a secret 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.

Synopsis:

“Erdrich is a true original… [and] one of our major writers.” —Washington Post Book World

Shadow Tag, the brilliant new novel by Louise Erdrich, is a stunning tour-de-force from the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of Love Medicine and Pulitzer-Prize-finalist The Plague of Doves. In the vein of the novels of such contemporaries as Zoe Heller and Susan Minot, Shadow Tag is an intense and heart-wrenching story of a troubled marriage and a family in disarray—and a radical departure from Erdrichs previous acclaimed work.

About the Author

Louise Erdrich is the author of thirteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. ...The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

ann_locates, March 11, 2010 (view all comments by ann_locates)
The rising and fallings of the sound of sirens affect all of us and this book prepares us for the end.
Louise Erdrich has captured my attention since the beginning line in LOVE MEDIDINE and this
story of suburban marriage during a long winter in the north country can still do it. The truth
and clarity of a red and blue relationship is not easy to describe but the scenes of cooking,
children's innocense, and social reactions could have happened to any of us. Irene and Gill
portray the times we live in although the underpinnings of 1800s and art of George Catlin and Politics
that led to esecution of Louis Riel are there, too. People around the world are reading this and
love it that a man in Tuscanny posted in face book that when the powere was out, he spent 24 hours
with this book.. I found it a quick read and it lingers in my mind..
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
hipwatermama, March 7, 2010 (view all comments by hipwatermama)
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I sat on the Yellow Line finishing the last section of Shadow Tag.

Louise Erdrich creates a world of art in this narrated double journal account of woman who struggles with her identities in life. Weaving together threads of her life as a wife, artistic model for her husband's America paintings, mother, drunk, grad student in art history, and Native American, the story and her journals drew me into the day to day struggles of this family. Imagery of loss and failure overlays 'normal' life with a jealous artist husband, and their three children. Longing to separate from the despair and dependency she has with her lover/spouse, this woman can not really break free, leaving her daughter to pick up the pieces of this and tell her story.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Richard Godsell, February 23, 2010 (view all comments by Richard Godsell)
I recently received an Indiespensable order, my first one, as I open my package the first book I saw was "Shadow Tag" by Louise Erdrich. What a pleasant surprise as I started to read this wonderful, but sad story of a mixed Native-American family growing up in Minnesota.I was struck by the rich literature and cultural differences from how I grew up and how Native-Americans truly live. Not only was this beautiful story educating and, for me enlightening, it was heartfelt and sad. It's amazing what married couples can do to each other when they are suppose to be in love. My dad always said that marriage was a love-hate relationship and as long as you didn't kill each other when the hate appeared you might just make it. That's what this story was to me. Powell's has convince me that they care about their reader's and some way I will try to purchase their Indiespensable orders again and again. Thank you.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061536090
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Erdrich, Louise
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20100202
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.17 in 18.08 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Shadow Tag Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Harper - English 9780061536090 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Louise Erdrich's Shadow Tag is a disturbing, heartbreaking, and mesmerizing portrait of a troubled and intense marriage. Irene and Gil are depicted with psychological nuance and in gorgeous detail; it is impossible not to feel deeply about these characters and their world.

"Review A Day" by , "Shadow Tag's form and content make for disturbing polarities: Erdrich imposes her exquisite mastery of language, imagery and literary form upon the raw and brutal chaos of mental illness, alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Unlike the rich orchestrations of much of her previous fiction, with its expansive explorations of history, storytelling and social communities, Shadow Tag is chamber music in a minor key: two parents and three children, a family in free fall over the course of one Minnesota winter." (Read the entire Ms. Magazine review)
"Review" by , "Erdrich is a true original... [and] one of our major writers."
"Review" by , "Erdrich offers a portrait that's convincing...Shadow Tag is wonderfully, painfully readable and revealing."
"Review" by , "A masterpiece...a captivating work of fiction...Shadow Tag is a devastating portrayal of the circular insanity of romantic obsession...captures that lament in some of Erdrich's most beautiful and urgent writing."
"Review" by , "A brilliant cautionary tale...Reading it is like watching a wildfire whose flames are so mesmerizingly beautiful that it's almost easy to ignore the deadly mess left behind."
"Review" by , "A fast-paced novel of exceptional artistic, intellectual, and psychological merit...Nowhere have love's complications been better illustrated than in the raw honesty of Shadow Tag."
"Synopsis" by , When Irene America discovers that her husband has been reading her diary, she begins a secret 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.
"Synopsis" by , “Erdrich is a true original… [and] one of our major writers.” —Washington Post Book World

Shadow Tag, the brilliant new novel by Louise Erdrich, is a stunning tour-de-force from the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of Love Medicine and Pulitzer-Prize-finalist The Plague of Doves. In the vein of the novels of such contemporaries as Zoe Heller and Susan Minot, Shadow Tag is an intense and heart-wrenching story of a troubled marriage and a family in disarray—and a radical departure from Erdrichs previous acclaimed work.

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