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Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich
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Sep 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: cried-like-a-baby, depressing, fiction, lit, love, moving, favorites
Read in January, 2011

"Love sees sharply, Hatred sees even more sharp, but Jealousy sees the sharpest for it is love and hate at the same time"
-Arab Proverb


I have to admit, I am both terrified and enamored with the characters in this story. Though it would be so easy to simply call them repugnant and their actions ugly, detaching myself from the story and pushing their outcomes into "That could never happen to me" land, would only tempt me down the road they traveled. Brutal and twisted though they may be, there's also beauty and truth to be found in Irene and Gil's love as well. Healthy? Hell no. But, still, love. And, well, hate, too. Lets be honest, you can't have one without the other.

Making no apologies nor trying to garner any sympathy, Erdrich's novel reads like a confession; a warning to couples: be careful about the illusions you chase and the lies you tell yourself and others to sustain it. Permeated with obsession, jealousy, fear, boredom, and insecurity, you get to watch a marriage choke itself out of existence. Devoid of quotation marks and filled with countless run on sentences, it took awhile to get used to Erdrich's style, after which barely noticed. Also, though I took my time reading this book, as soon as I would open it I would get pulled right back in.

And though I hoped with each character's downfall that they would veer from their path of self-destruction, half expecting the author to grant a reprieve for all that this family had endured, the ending was inevitable. There is no redemption here, only a cautionary tale told in whispers.

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02/12/2016 marked as: read

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