BY LOUISE ERDRICH
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 Erdrich’s previous acclaimed work.
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 kindergartener 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.
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. Most recently, THE PLAGUE OF DOVES lives in Minnesota and is the owner ofwon the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Louise ErdrichBirchbark Books, an independent bookstore.
Irene and Gil America seem to have a perfect life. It appears that they have their health, three wonderful children, and make a good living so want for nothing. Gil America is a very successful painter, whose fame comes very much from his portraits of his wife. Irene is a beautiful woman, who, as well as being a model for Gil and raising their three children also has just gone back to working on her doctoral thesis on George Catlin, an artist who did portraits of Native Americans. The addition of Native American religion and culture, adds interest as well as another element to the layers of complexity in this marriage. The children are Florian, their bright and eldest son; Riel, their only daughter, who is both resilient and practical; and Stoney, their youngest.
As the story begins, however, the reader quickly sees that this perfect life is falling apart. It seems that Irene finds out that Gil has been reading her diary, and is so upset at this invasion of her privacy that she starts writing another diary for Gill to read. This diary is filled with things she knows will torment and anger him as she wants him to be as upset as she is about the diary. What is Gill’s reason for reading Irene’s diary? Why does Irene plot to hurt Gil with a fake diary? How does all of this effect their children? The hostility continues to build, ending in an astonishing conclusion that will surprise readers with that twist that makes a book like this a hit!
This is a well-written book if you like realistic stories with reckless main characters, At the end of this gripping novel, readers will realize that in some respects, they are much like Gil. However, the difference is that readers, hopefully, have the ability to learn about respect for others and trust. How you come to read the diaries is the genius that makes SHADOW TAG sure to be a favorite and promote much dialogue.
AT HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHING,
I HAVE 3 COPIES OF THIS INTRIGUING
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY. HERE IS WHAT
YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN A COPY!
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!
HOW TO ENTER:
GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST,MARCH 12!