When Irene America discovers that her artist 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 marriage, while turning her Red Diary—hidden where Gil will find it—into a manipulative charade. As Irene and Gil fight to keep up appearances for their three children, their home becomes a place of increasing violence and secrecy. And Irene drifts into alcoholism, moving ever closer to the ultimate destruction of a relationship filled with shadowy need and strange ironies.
Alternating between Irene's twin journals and an unflinching third-person narrative, Louise Erdrich's Shadow Tag fearlessly explores the complex nature of love, the fluid boundaries of identity, and the anatomy of one family's struggle for survival and redemption.
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“A portrait of an ‘iconic’ marriage on its way to dissolution…Erdrich’s unbridled urgency yields startlingly original phrasing as well as flashes of blinding lucidity.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Gripping…a hushed and haunting tale that chillingly and convincingly reflects the upper-middle-class American experience, not only the Native American one.” (USA Today)
“ A fierce novel…raw…alive…vividly present…it marks a breakthrough for the author.” (Columbus Dispatch)
“Read this if: You’re looking for a well-written, well-told tale that is thought- and discussion- provoking.” (Baltimore Sun)
“A page-turner…a most compelling novel” (Dallas Morning News)
“SHADOW TAG is hard to put down...It builds to a spectacular ending with a twist I didn’t see coming...Erdrich has taken a tragedy and turned it into art.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“A domestic drama that builds an almost thriller-like momentum…A novel as dark and tragic as it is difficult to put down” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Clear, urgent, deep as a swift river…accomplishes the literary miracle of making a reader ravenous to finish it, while stinging with regret at how soon it must end.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“SHADOW TAG is compelling…a searing, personal examination of one family that’s falling apart.” (Miami Herald)
“An exquisite, character-driven tale…its piercing insights into sex, family, and power are breathtaking…A masterfully concentrated and gripping novel of image and conquest, autonomy and love, inheritance and loss.” (Donna Seaman, Booklist)
“Muscular and fearless…It is [Erdrich’s] superb telling of this story that makes it real, her stellar writing that brings powerful truth to invented worlds.” (BookPage)
“Erdrich offers a portrait that’s convincing…Shadow Tag is wonderfully, painfully readable and revealing.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“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)
“A masterpiece…a captivating work of fiction…exquisite…tightly focused…arresting…This profoundly tragic novel captures that lament in some of Erdrich’s most beautiful and urgent writing.” (Ron Charles, Washington Post)
“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)
“Into this deeply personal novel about marriage, family and individual identity, Erdrich weaves broader questions about cause and effect in history...A small masterpiece of compelling, painfully moving fiction.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
Louise Erdrich is the author of fourteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the 2012 National Book Award. She lives in Minnesota, where she owns the bookstore Birchbark Books.
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