Shadow Tag

Thoughts   Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich, Harper Collins 2010, 255 pages

Please mosey along if you haven’t read this.  I’m going to ask WHAT DID THIS MEAN? kind of questions which assumes and guarantees spoilerful issues.

Or…   (still here AND haven’t yet read this book?   GO READ Lisa’s review over at Books on the Brain.   It’s really good.)   (You can also visit Melissa and read her review.  She found it “incredibly well written” and I would agree with her on many points.)

Golly!  So much to talk about!     This is a book club book and I’m just going to ramble here because I’m feeling a bit rushed;  like I’ve had a bunch too much coffee, ya know?    Book Club is tomorrow and we have a big (?) storm coming tonight – it’s already snowing! – and I’m not sure, but I think there are crazy school schedules which may make it easier or harder for everyone to have the motivation to attend book club – most of the members work at the High School.

Back to the book.  STAYING FOCUSED.    I know somewhere, someone asked the question of what it is called when you FIND the title of a book in the narrative.   Anyone?    I think it was a true word with meaning but maybe somebody made it up.   All I know is that on page 145, I found the words ‘shadow tag’ and I thought it really cool.   I noted it in my status updates in    I really took advantage of that cool feature to track sentences, impressions and unknown vocabulary words and I am wondering if anyone noticed them when they opened up goodreads home page?

(I am going to html code it here but goodreads and wp don’t often get along.   I say this in a sportscaster-who-does golf voice whisper…)

(sorry.  I didn’t work.    Still whispering.   Here’s the link, though:

WORDS:   snick, remanence, lots of arsty words – many I didn’t write down but I did look up the definitions.

Shadows were prominent and ubiquitous in this story.

I’m going to keep rambling and I don’t care if this is much of a cohesive review.   Kind of like a book club meeting!!!!

Here are some of the pics of the paintings mentioned in the book:

Lucretia, after the deed


The Dining Room in the Country


Boy Howdy can WP be a photo formatting nightmare…

Lots of COPLEY Connections  – like BONNARD.    Bonnard is a painter that I am not familiar with enough to see and remark if I ever see his works.     I do think I’m good enough to view some artists’ work and *KNOW* who painted it before I read the little label underneath.  But the name Bonnard does not evoke anything to me.    Do know, I have never taken an art appreciation class.   Always wanted to but never had the time.

What makes Bonnard a Copley Connection (those random coincidental links between books you read) is that the protagonist in The Sea was writing a book on Pierre Bonnard the painter.     COOL, huh?   🙂      

I did not like the husband, Gil the painter nor his wife Irene very much.   The kids were great but we didn’t get enough of them.   Riel was the most fascinating but then, she had a bigger part to play.   Actually this part she had to play was one of the minor pleasant surprises for me.   Was Irene writing to Riel the whole time!??!   I wanted to go back and read through her journal entries a bit more but then didn’t care enough to do so.

And, I have a few questions.    What do you think was the significance of the Xmas –> xMas –> xmAs –> xmaS?  Did you even notice it?

Was Gil really Stoney’s father or not!??!    I am entirely baffled and could be convinced either way.

Do you think Riel has the right to be mad at her mother for not saving herself for the kids’ sake?  I do.

I’m got more questions and interesting tidbits in my “Reading Progress” if anyone is interested.

I have to go!   Gotta hit submit and face the consequences.

Well, OK, quick recap for anyone who is still here and didn’t read the book:    It’s about marriage; a bad BAD marriage where there is violence.     American Indian heritage is a theme or a context.    Alcoholism is another.      The setting is Minneapolis in the winter time.    Told through the wife’s true and false journal entries as well as a third perspective…  darn – what’s that word?

Anyway, the blurb states this:

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.

I give it THREE pie slices.

Other REVIEWS:   courtesy of Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search

Even though this book wasn’t the charmer I had hoped, I still want to read Erdrich’s The Master Butchers Singing Club and maybe The Plague of Doves.



Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

13 thoughts on “Shadow Tag

  1. Thanks for linking to my review! I had to re-read it to refresh my memory of the book because it has been a while. I can’t really say I liked the book so much as I appreciated the talented writing, if that makes sense. You might have been a little generous with the pie, IMO.

    I did not know there was a word for when you find the title of the book in the narrative (assuming it’s not made up). I would LOVE for there to be a real word for that! What is it?? ANYbody know?? If there isn’t one, well, I need one. I’m gonna have to make one up if there really isn’t one. Suggestions?

    ON another note, have you ever been tested for ADD? LOL Your ramblings crack me up and I love how you bounce around and then tell yourself to FOCUS. LOL

    1. Lisa, so good to see you! Your review was excellent. I think everyone polled so far in club is that no one liked it! Not sure about their opinion on the writing.

      I’m still trying to research that word for title finding…

      and no, I have not been tested. What’s the point?! 🙂

  2. PS I did not notice the Xmas, xMas, xmAs, xmaS thing, or if I did, it was too long ago for me to remember. Can’t imagine what that might have been about.

  3. Okay, so I was going to be a good girl and listen to you and not read your review because I haven’t read the book. But fact is, I’m tired of being a good girl. I want to live it up a little. And dammit, Care, I’m glad I did!!! Seriously, this was *the* most fun review I’ve read in…well, maybe ever! I think because that is pretty much precisely how my brain works as well. And guess what, I think I actually do want to read the book now. 😛

  4. Not moving along. I read everything. Heh heh heh.

    Also, if you discover the word for finding the title in the text of the book, I’d be interested to know what it is. That would be a useful word to know.

  5. I was listening to A Plague of Doves on audio from the library. When it was due, I popped the third or fourth cd out of my car and turned it in. This is not like me–I usually HAVE to finish a book. But not that one.

  6. I love this review. I agree with so much that you said. Please, someone, tell us what the deal is with xmas! And I, too, loved Riel. That bit of a twist on the narrative made me very happy.

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