Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Harper Perennial. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.
On Tuesday, I offered you a tease from Louise Erdrich's Shadow Tag. This intense novel examines marriage, trust, and families and is almost impossible to put down. Here's the publisher's summary:
When Irene America discovers that her artist husband, Gil, has been reading her diary, she begins a secret Blue Notebook, stashed securely in a safe-deposit box. There she records the truth about her life and marriage, while turning her Red Diary—hidden where Gil will find it—into a manipulative charade. As Irene and Gil fight to keep up appearances for their three children, their home becomes a place of increasing violence and secrecy. And Irene drifts into alcoholism, moving ever closer to the ultimate destruction of a relationship filled with shadowy need and strange ironies.I have been a fan of Erdrich's for many years, and Shadow Tag does not disappoint. I love the evocative nature her writing and I especially love the truth of her words: "Women are always swimming trustingly toward men! We're as curious as otters when we should be wary as snakes." The undercurrent of bitterness mixed with love and overlain by manipulation and desperation is evident almost immediately. Yet, despite the painful realities of the novel, the surprises, shocks, and emotional entanglements keep you in the moment of the story instead of dragging you under.
Alternating between Irene's twin journals and an unflinching third-person narrative, Louise Erdrich's Shadow Tag fearlessly explores the complex nature of love, the fluid boundaries of identity, and the anatomy of one family's struggle for survival and redemption.
Here are some other thoughts:
- Dawn at 5 Minutes for Books writes: "I was impressed with the quality of writing, the insistent tone, and the way that the characters came alive through the author’s unique-feeling prose."
- Melissa from The Betty and Boo Chronicles says: "Erdrich gives her reader two very strong, well-defined characters and prose that glides off the page, but the stark pain that is evident throughout this novel doesn't give the reader many reasons to smile."
- Ron Charles at The Washington Post says "If you haven't lived through this sad story yourself, you know someone who has. And of course it's the plot of a library's worth of domestic novels, but Erdrich distinguishes her own version in a variety of exquisite ways."
Harper Perennial is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note posted here on June 18, 2010. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. And don't miss the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.