Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shadow Tag, by Louise Erdrich

Shadow Tag, by Louise Erdrich, is about a relationship where love and hate coexist. It is about an iconic marriage in which a painter sells images of his wife over the course of their lives together. His fame hinges on hers. He is possessive, domineering, and emotionally abusive. She longs to get get away from him, to take her three children and leave.

Fiction mirroring life, Erdrich's marriage to Michael Dorris seems to echo in this novel. Like Gil and Irene, theirs was a marriage between artists. He became her literary agent. They ultimately separated amid allegations of child abuse. Over a year later, Dorris was found dead in a hotel room, the result of alcohol, drugs, and suffocation.

Shadow Tag is a disturbing book, made more so by its connection to reality. As always, Louise Erdrich's writing is tight and evocative.

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