Shadow Tag

Shadow Tag - Louise Erdrich Louise Erdrich takes the title of her book from a game played by children in which, if one's shadow is stepped on, one is out of the game. She combines this with the idea that some aboriginal cultures hold in which a shadow contains part of someone's soul, so that if it is stepped on the soul is damaged.With this premise, she brings us the tale of Gil and Irene, whose marriage is falling apart around them. Irene keeps one diary filled with falsehoods that she plants for Gil to read since he is always checking up on her; she keeps one with the actual truth in it at a bank in a safe deposit box.For his part, Gil is a successful portrait artist. All of his images are of his wife, many of them in humiliating or violent poses. He works out his aggressions toward her on his canvas.Their three children, of course, are victims of the distrust and agony in their parents marriage.I found Erdrich's non-traditional punctuation (which is to say that she choose not to use it at times) off-putting, and the tale was not as well-constructed as I might have liked. There was tremendous potential for a far more interesting narrative than what she provided. Not a brilliant book, but in fact average and pedestrian.(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)