My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To what lengths will humans go to manipulate each other? To control each other? To hurt one another? what is the true definition of codependence?
These are some of the thematic questions Erdrich tackles with her novel Shadow Tag. Few authors manage to explore so many facets of dependent love-hate relationships as Erdrich does: from psychological abuse, to alcoholism, to spying inside diaries which then turn out to be fabricated to hurt the spy, the motives and actions of the characters in this novel are immensely intricate, complex, and deep. Gil and Irene's marriage serves as the centerpiece from which all other storylines radiate, including the parents' relationships to their children and the children's varying abilities to cope with their parents' deteriorating relationship.
Shadow Tag is intense and driven in the same way the movie Closer fails to let its audience relax for even one moment. There is a tension throughout the book that keeps the reader riveted to the pages, even once the conclusion becomes inevitable. Erdrich has written a deliberately paced novel which will keep any reader hooked until the very last pages.