Everyone Hates Black Americans

9 Sep

Black Millennials

We’ve done nothing, but we’re hated widely.

In high school, I was part Cherokee. Until someone clapped back with the proverbial “Bish WAYUR?!” I was also “Jamaican and Black” because, according to family legend, I had a verrrrryyyyy distant relative who came from the island in the 1800s.

But my Black American existence — from the food I ate, to music I listened to, alongside my colloquialisms sprinkled in the thick of my New York City accent — was always with me, even when I failed to recognize it.

Growing up Black American meant feeling culturally displaced. I didn’t know how to be a Black American because our cultural, religious, and social traditions were violently erased from history, forgotten in the throes of today, and flagrantly whitewashed to the point where these esteemed customs (whatever they are) are frustratingly unrecognizable.

Being funneled through the public school system meant that the only access I had to…

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Don’t forget, for your own good

14 Aug

The Two Thousands seem to be allergic to true tellers. No matter where you walk: you’ll find lots of good and almost fantastic stories on the media, but rarely the facts of life. It’s no mystery why, though: no one—be it Obama’s CNN, be it Putin’s RT, be it Iran’s Press TV—will ever tell a story without a political schedule, without an intention, and without an agenda. Be them well-intentioned or ill-intentioned, no story will be undressed of its political nature. Information, in the Two Thousands, has become the greatest weapon—the greatest untold fiction—for the power. George Orwell already predicted it in its novel 1984 and we’re now inside his prophetical picture.

The Two Thousands’ spirit loves the fiction. And yet, the truth… Well, that’s another kind of food.

As you might have noticed, there have been a sudden wave of leakers, reporters, etcetera, who have unveiled some uncomfortable cover of truth and shown the world a nasty fact that some big fat cheese might want under the dust. You might recognize some names. Assange. Snowden. Chelsea Manning… And there’s Rubén Espinosa.

Ruben Espinosa murder

Who’s Rubén Espinosa, you might ask? Well, one of the bravest reporters in Mexico. And yet, one of the most tragic ones…

Rubén Espinosa was known for his work as a Veracruz reporter. He focused mostly on Veracruz’s dirty secrets, which involved most of its politicians (even more the governor himself, Javier Duarte), and some nasty activities that ranged from suspicious murders and feminicides. You know, the actual work of a reporter, nothing like what the Televisa and Fox News stooges do as of today.

As you can expect, Espinosa became rather…unliked among Veracruz’s elite, especially with the governor Duarte. He was beaten, harassed, threatened…and yet he kept working, because he knew it was the correct thing to do. He knew his work wasn’t going to be a fluffy ride among daisy cars, but somebody had to do it, even though it would win him many enemies.

Like the governor.

Javier Duarte was known for his despise towards the reporters. One incident that, apparently, angered him was some photograph that Espinosa took for one prestigious Mexican magazine, Proceso:

Click on the image to reach an English site that details a bit more on Duarte. If you know who’s Franco, you might get the shills when you read Duarte’s a fan of his…

Why did Duarte get so angry because of this shot? Was it the hat, the hat that showered his authoritarian status? Was it his unfazed gaze, which showered an almost soulless look? Was it his grotesque belly, the one that made him a laughingstock among the people? Actually, would people seriously hurt a person just because he didn’t take a good photo of you…?

Well, yes. But that’s not the point of this, is it?

The photograph itself didn’t anger Duarte, but rather Espinosa’s whole work to discover the corruption and violence linked to his term. But this issue put Duarte in the center of the stage, and thus questions about Veracruz’s “Lawless State” began to float. He, naturally, didn’t like being known for this, and thus started to harass most of Veracruz reporters, Espinosa mostly, provoking in this last one’s a deep fear for his life that made him flee to Mexico City.

Espinosa had to rearrange his life to flee from some unwanted espionage and life with the lowest profile possible. And everything seemed alright…

…But what differenced Espinosa from guys like Assange, Snowden and Manning is that they’re still alive.

Funeral de Rubén Espinosa, fotoreportero asesinado en México. Foto: AFP/Getty

Espinosa was found tortured and dead, alongside four other women, some few days ago in Colonia Narvarte, just in their apartment.

Shamelessly, the local authorities have declared this as a “robbery” murder, as if robberies usually end up with two activists dead and four women massacred and tied on a bed. Even our favourite governor have declared to be “outraged” because of this incident, even though his government has been known for its lack of protection to reporters and for his rather polemical “advice” on the reporters who went to interview him about his murder…

…Seriously, would you feel calm after he quietly told you, a reporter, “Please, behave, I beg you. It’s for your own good”.

Your own good. Your…own…good…

I’ll let it sink in your mind…

But no, no. I won’t accuse anybody. I won’t. I recently learned that it’s not a good idea to give away names and accuse people that freely. It’s a sensationalist tactic and not a good idea, in the end. Besides, Espinosa was killed not by a man, but by something greater, bigger, a grotesque monster that has been killing poor Mexico for many years.


Corruption. Globalization. Dehumanization. A whole campaign to anesthetize you and make you more docile to a greater monster that controls this huge reptile puppet that’s controlling Mexico.

That was what killed Espinosa. That monster, with a human as a weapon.

People have their mouths taped as a group of artist, students, journalist and activist stage a protest demanding justice for Ruben Espinosa in Mexico City on 8 August 2015.

About the women…

One thing that has also angered most Mexican women is the lack of coverage towards the murdered women, as they suffered something worse than Espinosa.

They were raped.

Aside of torture, signs of sexual damage were found in their bodies, making them an almost—almost—separate crime, and yet a most common one in Mexico. Feminicide.

Espinosa was killed because of political issues. One of the female victims, Nadia Vera, surely as well. But the other women…? Not much of them is known, and some weren’t that close to Espinosa, so why were they tortured this way…? This is a different kind of crime. This is pure misogyny.

Pure, Mexican-style misogyny.

The only justice I can bring to these women is to name them and to present them to the public, so you, O Readers, do not forget their crimes. Rubén Espinosa’s the most sounded name so far because he was the main target, but these ladies deserve to be remembered. They were punished for something beyond their actions.

They were punished because they were women.

          Nadia Vera

32 year old Nadia Vera was a prominent Chiapas activist. She was a close friend of Espinosa’s and a known name inside the #YoSoy132 youth movement. She graduated from the Veracruz University, so her activities were focused on there too. She was also harassed by Duarte, and she even declared in a video that, should something happen to her, the only name they needed was Javier Duarte. But it seems that it wasn’t enough… Nothing’s ever enough in the country.

          Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro

18 year old Yesenia was a make-up student. She lived in the same department as Nadia and Rubén, and came straight from Baja California. Her name wasn’t told exactly by the authorities, but rather by the social media, which only proves how pathetic it is that you can trust more on the goddamn Facebook rather than on your own government.

         Mile Virginia Martín

31 year old Virginia was a model. She came straight from Bogotá to look for chances to become a model in Mexico City, while living in the same Narvarte building. She was planning to leave, though, and return home with her family. She was the sole foreigner of the group.

         Alejandra Negrete

40 year old Alejandra was mother of two girls. It was her second day as a cleaner when she disappeared and was found murdered in the Narvarte building. Authorities have said she was the only one who wasn’t sexually assaulted, but that didn’t diminish the family’s anger when they read in the media that she was considered a simple “housekeeper” or “fifth victim”. But we will gladly remember that she is no less important than the others.

I beg to you, O Reader, to never forget their names. To never forget Javier Duarte either. And never forget that this is Mexico. The American media is ready to blast the smallest thing in Venezuela, Iran and Russia, but because this is Mexico—a most important strategic point inside America—, I am afraid that the only pressure that will come to this corrupt government will come from very few: the ones that will never swallow this putrid government’s lies.

Please, O Reader. Maybe the Two Thousands is allergic to truth… But the best work of all is timeless, unattached to any epoch, One Thousand, Two Thousands, Three Thousands…because it is vaccinated by the very truth itself. Make this timeless. Make this not a Mexican case, but also a global case, because this could have happened anywhere. This will happen sometime too if a deranged being ever reaches the seats of your government.

Please, don’t forget and help Mexicans spread the word. To put some pressure into this bland mass of putrefaction.

Please, pretty please…

But I must shush now. I’ve said what needed to be said and what expects an answer as well.

I must keep quiet now. For my own good.

An activist holds up a picture of Ruben Espinosa at the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City, Mexico August 2, 2015.Thanks a bunch for reading.

All images redirect to their original locations and more informative articles about this tragedy. Please, inform a bit more and help us.

I Am a Native American Woman With White Privilege

1 Aug

I always wondered what were the thoughts of light skinned people inside a predominantly non-white culture. There are many of them in Latin America, mind you, but because the race issues here are a bit more different than the situation in the U.S.A. (although they’re virtually the same, mind you), it always intrigued me what were their thoughts. I actually remember that a young white Mexican posted her experiences as well, but silly me, I forgot the title and the place in where I found the article…
So it’s nice to find another comment of this around the web, and I am gladly sharing it. After all, the Two Thousands is one weird century in where everything, race included, got so much more complex than before.

Note from the author: This blog uses the term “white privilege.” The correct term is “white-passing privilege.” Please note that white-passing privilege is what I am referring to in this blog. 

First off, I think it’s important to say that I do not, and have not ever primarily identified as white. On my mother’s side, I’m Native American, enrolled in

ghostmy Tribe, and, to a large extent, raised in my culture. I was born on the reservation and lived on or near reservations for much of my life. Indigenous cultural signifiers are important to me – I love Coastal designs and canoes. I love to eat Salmon, attend gatherings, and socialize at potlatches or powwows. However, due to genetics (while both my grandparents on my mother’s side are Indigenous, my grandmother is light-skinned, and my grandfather, of mixed ancestry) it so happens that I am light. Like, really light. Light…

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Have you read Notes from Underground?

23 Jul

Bear with me, Readers. I read this book not too recently, and thus my memory of what precisely happens it’s quite vague. However, if I decided to make a review of it it’s because I do remember it is quite a powerful book, for it left a lingering existentialist question in my soul, that I yet have to answer today. And you know a book it’s really good when you remember the sensation, despite the oblivion shrouding your memory…

It’s really pointless to give a description of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s life and persona. There’s a reason why he’s so famous, both in Russia and around the globe: he’s one of the best novelists ever in the whole literature history! Introducing him would be quite…nonsensical. However, some background will help us unravel a bit more of the philosophy behind his work. But beware: it won’t be a happy.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Vasily Perov - Портрет Ф.М.Достоевского - Google Art Project.jpg
Dostoyevsky lived in the 19th century, and had quite a rough childhood with his religious family. As he grew up, he joined a merry group of socialists that, as you can expect, was eventually disbanded, arrested and sentenced to death by the government in turn. But because God knew our dear Fyodor would do a terrific job at writing, He decided to change his fate and modify at last minute his sentence to another merry trip of forced hard labour at Siberia. He came back to St. Petersburg 10 years later, and man, he sure hated the new world he saw, after he came back from the shilling hell. But let’s resume by saying that this little experience at Siberia molded his philosophy and seated his future writings, for he became quite an…interesting man ever since. What with his affairs, his gambling addictions… Goodness, who would have known that such a frosty place like Siberia can be hell on earth…

Anyways, he’s best known for being the author of classics just as Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, which apparently wasn’t finished completely. Surely you might have read one of these, or even one of his other works, like Demons and The Idiot, which all encompass one philosophical idea rooting back to bitterness of life, the hypocrisy of society or, why not, to Christian themes, to which the author was fond of. Notes from Underground is not a far less known work, but I am sure that, if the name Dostoyevsky pops up, people might think immediately on the first two titles and not on this one. Such a pity…

Anyways, now that you know, it’ll be easier to resume Notes from Underground.

Notes from Underground

One of Dostoyevsky’s shortest works, the first part is dedicated to quite an amusing existentialist rambling done by the nameless narrator, whom we rapidly assume’s quite a grouchy man with some temper problems. We come to know his philosophy, his exposition of human wickedness, our inherent mediocrity, and, of course, the doomed condition that, no matter what do, we will never overcome our unhappiness. Or in short: how we humans are losers by nature and creatures predestined to fall despite our best efforts. All of this is written with an acid and sarcastic tongue that will immediately burn some sensitive positive tummies, mostly of those who happen to be avid believers of Oprah’s positive philosophy and readers of Paulo Coehlo’s self-help techniques in his narrative.

The second part is the actual start of his narrative. Now we come to meet the still nameless narrator and his rather mediocre life. See, we immediately see he’s been obsessed over many things ever since he was young, ranging from his own flaws to the other people’s flaws, in some herculean attempt to prove what a big piece of trash life is. There’s no precise story in this part, but rather a recollection of memories that showcase his socially inept demeanor. We see him, for example, obsess on bumping into a man who previously, and in an unconscious way, shoved him out of the way when he was walking. The narrator, who takes this as a gesture of aggression, seriously considers taking revenge by bumping him later just to start a fight and prove he’s no coward, and when he finally does it…well, would you harm a man who bumped you on the street? Really.

Another obsession of his is to belittle other people in a fit against society. It happens when he meets with his college “friends” (the narrator doesn’t really have friends, but they kinda invite him to a birthday party just because they have no choice…it makes sense on the context) and tries to impose himself as a superior being during a rather awkward reunion, and again when he meets a young prostitute whom he humiliates through comments of her uselessness. This exposition might sound rather mean when I explain it, but trust me, when you read the novel, it suddenly turns quite deep and interesting. Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s greatest talent is to make you think on humanity through all kinds of characters, and this narrator’s one of his best creations.

The prose is exquisite. It’s not poetic per se, but it is not realistic either. It’s, literally, just the ramblings of an old mediocre man who truly has no idea of what humility—or banality—is. Dostoyevsky’s grandeur makes it possible to makes all of this rambling not only bearable and credible, but also intriguing, attracting and, moreover, powerful. It does leave you thinking. It does! Every word he chooses rains above you as an icy shower, and every scene can be disgusting and sickening, but in a well-crafted way—in a way that you do feel and empathize with the man’s paranoia and gloominess, despite all the monstrosity that can bloom from deep inside of his heart. This is philosophy; a pure, well-crafted story that showcases a whole philosophical opinion through several scenes, and in a very humane and interesting one. So don’t worry: there won’t be any preachiness in the book. Just sheer awesomeness.

It is fast paced. Its length’s excellent. It won’t bore you, but you’ll crave for more after you’re done reading, because you’ll feel like you owe Dostoyevsky a whole new perception of life once you drop down the book on your shelf.

Notes from Underground is a great analysis of human psyche and an interesting psychology exam. It has been called a founding base of the existentialist movement and one of the best books of the author, if not of the world. And it shows.

In this epoch of the Two Thousands, I do recommend you a lot, O Reader, to give this book a little chance. Trust me, the exposed mentality’s not quite different of the actual mentality of most average men, whom have such a sick aversion towards humanity nowdays. I recommend reading it, mostly because most people might understand the psyche of those people and even start a psychological exam of one’s own.

Dostoyevsky should be read by everybody. It does make one wonder how much mediocre one is, deep inside…
Thanks for reading!

P.S.: If you’re interested in reading the book, which is rather short compared to his other works, you can find an online edition here. Enjoy!

[All images redirect to their respective Wikipedia page. Click on each if you feel more curious about the author and the book]

Top Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” has escaped prison for the second time

12 Jul

“Escaped” is quite a strong word, considering the quite criminal background of our government. And mind you, O Readers, Mexico’s right now dealing with a huge uproar against the national privatization of the public health services; it’s quite “odd” that now all the debate about it has been removed in favour of El Chapo’s escape…

Helena Miraculous

8 Jul
To know more about the Greece debt, click on this image to see a chronology of its events.

To know more about the Greece debt, click on this image to see a chronology of its events.


I’ve seen the birth of the human birds

defy God’s holiest commandments

and defy the plant nature of the feet

that damns us forever in the land.

And I’ve seen how their flaming eggs

explode over the children’s heads

in a beach so random

and hatch monsters without teeth

in a blazing cemetery

that nobody remembers but me.


I’ve seen giant beetles

run through the land

in a never ending race

for a never reachable prize,

drying an already dry desert

with its flaming feet, ironed and flat.

I’ve also seen and heard gigantic bees,

wasps, and other kinds of hive

buzz a never ending orchestra of bullets

pierce the very building’s heart,

and write on their walls

a most solemn poet,

a most solemn song,

dedicated to all those

who heard their litany last.


I’ve seen the smallest creature of the Earth

hatch through a magical glass.

I’ve seen God’s perfection and reason

through the stillness of the land

and the symmetry of a tree,

and the symmetry of the sun.

I’ve seen edible dragons.

I’ve tasted the gems of the caves.

I’ve tasted the air,

whose flavor is sweet

and yet somehow so sour.

And I’ve devoured rainbows

with an eye blink.

And I’ve seen the sky take monstrous bites

of the cheeks of the moon,

of the chin of the sun,

and I’ve tasted the horrific flavor

of their dark-inked blood

cover the sky

and blind the whole world

without a culprit in sight…


Yes. I’ve seen many things.

I’ve seen disasters.

I’ve seen the horror.

I’ve seen miracles as well.

I’ve seen the impossible

and I’ve seen the man defy God’s laws

of his own head,

and weave a newer fate

with a new kind of thread…


But this is the first time I’ve heard an echo,

an explosion,

reach the corners of the Universe

and shake the very throne of the King.



This poem was inspired in the recent events of Greece. The ultimate decision—a huge “OXI” (“NO”) from the Greek population—can indeed bring a new debate on the table. Many people fear for what will happen. Many others rejoice for this decision. Many people are still wondering what’s to come… Yes, many things are now possible, now that this decision shook the EU and brought to the table the actual debate of austerity policies…

It’s understandable that this event’s now making people wonder what will happen, be it a good thing or a bad thing. I, too, wonder what will happen now that Greece finally told its economic harassers to leave it alone. But what truly hit me in this aspect was this:

For the first time, it is the people talking—roaring—out loud for their own destiny. A huge “No” came straight out of their mouths and made it clear that they weren’t going to accept more bullying from the bigger banks.

And that’s going to mark the Two Thousands, trust me.

Japanese women are speaking out against “maternity harassment”

29 Jun

I never knew this happened! It’s an interesting read, though, and I pray it can get better for both the women and the Japanese economy.

The Lost Heart of a Lamb

23 May

Silhouette, group of happy children playing on meadow, sunset, s

O Father, can you see me cry outside?
I’ve fallen deep inside a hole,
too close to a wooden door
that will never let me inside
a Paradise never known
by mortals in this life.

O Mother, can’t you hear me call for help?
I’ve fallen to my grave
and I’ve injured too much my nails
to crawl back to the grass
in where I would touch my face
and believe in my heart…

O World, can’t you listen the wolves behind?
They’ve eaten my heart,
and now I’ve become part of their pelt
and now I’ve become part of their pest
that withers the flowers by my side
and whom the trees dread
when I walk around their land…

O God, can’t you see what they’ve done to me?
I’ve lost my face inside a well.
The water would show my face back then,
but now I see a monster of shining teeth.
Yet no one seems to see,
as their eyes are no longer water to drink
nor the mirror inside a well.
They’ve become cold stones without a price,
chiseled by the sharp images in their life
and who no longer want to see
what they don’t want to see.

O myself, can’t you see your face anymore?
I no longer see people.
I no longer see life.
I have now the face of the wolf.
I have lost the eyes of the lamb.
I find myself no longer in territory of God,
but rather in a grizzly battlefield
in where I can ripe flowers once more
by tearing them apart
from the chests of the animals,
who happen to be actual lambs
who can see the life I see no more.

I am no longer a lamb of God,
but rather a lost animal.
And the only colours and flowers
I can seed and ripe
are the cardiac seeds
that I must tear apart
from the loving chest of the lambs.

Maybe… Maybe only that way…
I will recover my lost heart.



This poem was inspired on Christopher Raymundo Márquez’s murder at the hands of a deranged group of teenagers, allegedly playing the “kidnapping” game, whereas it was actually a cold blooded planned murder from the very beginning.
As one Mexican academic (golly, forgot his name…) said, we’re raising nowdays a generation of psychopaths, not only in Mexico, but around the world, by letting them enjoy fiestas bravas, violent video games like Call of Duty, watch junk TV shows without supervision…
People, we’re failing as adults, as educators, as humans as well. We’re failing, and it is showing on our children’s mindsets. We need to be more conscious and closer to our children’s inner world; who knows what will happen if this repeats again? In some years from now on, psychopathy might even become so normal it will gradually destroy the world…

In some years, the Two Thousands might as well be recognizable because of its lack of virtual humanity.

Please, people, if you’re a parent, take a moment to read Christopher’s case—all of the cases about children murderers—and think just for a moment if you’re teaching to your kid something beyond the “basics” of the individualistic bourgeois values. Something that might make them more than “successful” and “literate” people: see if you’re teaching them to be human.

Thanks for reading!

Reese, Blake, Gwyneth: The Commodification of Celebrity Blandness

9 May

This is an interesting read of these sites. I recommend it to everybody. It finally helped me find a word to define what was behind all of these celebrity-site things.


There’s a certain aesthetic that I associate with decent to middling romantic comedies of the early millennium, usually starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, or Reese Witherspoon. This aesthetic surrounds a lovelorn heroine who is a clean-cut but slightly funky blonde, a little bit frenetic but also warm. She’s pretty for the guys and aspirational for the ladies, and utterly devoid of any real personality, grit, or distinctive cultural background. She’s a blank slate, made to reflect the projections of viewers, just as the big windows and gleaming surfaces of her home reflect her pretty face.

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Have you read Tracks and Shadow Tag?

5 May

I am pretty sure that some of you might recognize the name of the following author that I’ll make review of in the incoming texts, so I don’t think it is quite necessary to introduce a huge deal of her and her work.

However, just in case, and especially for those who don’t know her (as you’re the guys I’m specifically aiming to with my book reviews, as I want to spread as much as possible the word of these authors) and if you’re feeling quite lazy of clicking on the Wikipedia link, I will make just a brief description of her and what she has written so far, so you can have an idea of what’s coming…

…And what’s NOT coming.

Louise Erdrich.


Erdrich is a living Ojibwe author of European roots, nowdays stationed in the reservation of North Dakota, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and one of the most significant authors of the called second wave of the Native American Renaissance, which is, as you may guess, a way to refer to the considerable literary production done by Native Americans. Erdrich has won several prestigious awards, and currently owns an independent bookstore as well, called Birchbark Books, whose online store you can find it here and actually discover some neat titles on the list. You should check it out; it’s quite cool and got lots of Native American titles.

Erdrich has written, naturally, of the Native American’s present, not just about the past as usually a Hollywood screenwriter would. She actually captures with amazing style the life of contemporary Indian reservations and pours lots of mysticism and Native style on her works. Her most known and famous one is the Native American series, which include books like Love Medicine, The Last Report on the Miracles of Little No Horse, Bingo Palace, Tracks… I recommend you reading this series; I’ve read three of these titles and they’re sure worth your time. They’re informative, they’re magical, they’re not preachy, they’re mysterious… They’re humane. And that’s something no author can easily do in these Two Thousands, which is filled with marketing, commercialism, frivolous prose… Erdrich can sure make miracles at anything she touches and you usually don’t end up disappointed.


See, I want to make a double review of two of her works, which comprise the best and the worst of her, which I had to meet in such an awful manner, to my chagrin. I would have loved to review my favourite ones—Love Medicine and The Last Report…—and transmit to you, O Reader, why I loved them. However, since it’s been quite a while ever since I read them, I will refer to the most recent readings I did of her and which are complete opposites. One’s the pleasant surprise; the other an AWFUL surprise respectively.

Tracks and Shadow Tag.

Let’s start with Tracks.



This is one of the Native American series titles, and I consider it one of the weakest titles, but still, it’s a pretty good catch.

It is about one of the most recurring characters on the series, Fleur Pillager, and the mysterious things that happen around her and the mysterious entity she actually is. We follow her from the very moment she’s rescued by one of the narrators, Nanapush, when the blizzard destroys her whole family. We see two viewpoints of this character, coming from Nanapush, who’s the only one to understand the feared and dreaded Fleur’s mysteries, and another one coming from one of the most complex characters of the series, Pauline Puyat, who’ll eventually transform in the…quite crazy Sister Leopolda, a key character in Love Medicine and The Last Report

The plot itself could sound almost boring, as it just deals with the weirdness happening around Fleur. However, it ends up becoming a great book thanks mostly to Erdrich’s poetic and mystical prose, which is one of the best points of this book. In fact, it’s the prose, the characters—very mysterious all of them and very endearing with their complex mindset—and the humane way in which the author deals with the Indian problem back in the beginning of the 20th century.

This is a fan-art-like illustration done by Chicago illustrator, Kathleen Joyce. Click on the drawing to direct to her own blog and check out her other works.

As I said, it is not preachy, so it’s quite easy to relate to the characters without feeling the demand to do it. You do get inside of their minds and their skin, and you can feel the way they deal with their world, which is slowly crumbling apart because of the gradual intervention of non-Indians and even Fleur’s almost diabolical presence.

There’s rarely a long piece of dialogue, and most of the prose focuses on the descriptions of the weird events and the “oral” tradition-like way of exposing them, to make them sound as rumours. Rumours that, of course, the reader can choose to take them as such, or even as mere hallucinations created by the slowly degrading people who bump into Fleur. Or even coincidences. Frankly, who knows? Nobody knows in the end what’s going on, and that’s the best thing of the book: the reader in the end’s the one with the final answer, and the one living through these characters the experience of seeing one’s culture tearing apart in a very harsh moment of their history.

The only flaw I see in this book is that it might not be very well appreciated if you don’t read first the other novels of the series. I appreciated it mostly because I knew of whom was the author talking about, and I actually picked it up because I wanted to dive more into Fleur and Pauline, but then, as the lecture progressed, I became aware that this book, as a standalone, might have some problems. It wouldn’t erase any of the beauty the author crafted, but I say and take it as a warning that you might love this book mostly if you read first previous works from the author, just in case, because too many names and too many references will only make sense if you do. So yeah, I don’t recommend this book if you don’t have any idea of what’s behind these characters, which is actually exposed in Love Medicine, Erdrich’s debut novel. So I recommend, for the maximum pleasure, diving just a bit into deeper water before walking to the shore.

Now, onto a harder piece…

Shadow Tag

Shadow Tag

I’ll be honest. I’ll be completely honest, O Reader. I am surprised of this book, and not in a good way. In fact, I still can’t believe it was written by Louise Erdrich. Not only is her enriching and poetic prose absent in this book: her craft in her characters is also gone in here.

The story is as follows: Irene America’s the alcoholic wife of a prominent local painter, Gil, who tends to use her as a model for his work. She’s got a red diary, and one day she discovers Gil’s been reading it secretly, and as revenge, she starts writing lies and malicious things on it so she can write a more “honest” one in a blue notebook. Naturally, she writes disturbing and shocking stuff to Gil, who slowly starts becoming quite desperate when he starts suspecting of his wife’s love. He tries to desperately win her back, but for no real reason specified, Irene keeps torturing him. You get the idea she’s trying to get her revenge, but as the novel progresses, you start wondering if she’s mentally unstable or something…which is not what the author seemed to intend on her, at least on my opinion.

So in few words, this book’s just about a spiral of (unintended) madness. So, yeah.

Unlike her previous novels, specifically those of her Native American series, this book lacks an imaginative prose. It’s dull and gray, and walks in a rather tedious pace, even though it is fast paced as it was correctly pointed out in a review on the back cover. And unlike other reviewers whose scathing reviews I also read, I didn’t find the “grim” or “malicious” vibe on the book. In fact, I felt nothing. I didn’t find it grim: I found it boring.

Boring. Boring. Boring. Because the real stuff behind all the intensity and drama…is not there. It’s all so…shallow.

Unlike what the back-cover premise said, this book doesn’t have the promised diary drama that was remarked everywhere. In fact, I feel…scammed, to say the least, because this book had a nice concept and did seem to have a good point to land in… But no. Erdrich, for some mysterious reason, didn’t play with the very strong points she got in the idea and, instead, played on silly scenes that were supposed to be intense, violent and uneasy to deal with, and which in the end were…stiff and almost inhuman. You could say it is because of its very nature as a fast-paced novel, but still it’s no excuse. The House of the Sleeping Beauties of Yasunari Kawabata is a fast-paced novel (I finished it in four hours), and yet it got all the intensity of an anvil. Really!

7 lb Cast Iron Anvil

That sensation you feel when a cartoonish anvil falls over you is the same you feel when you read Camus’ The Stranger and most of Dostoievski’s and Kawabata’s prose. So yeah, maybe all writers should begin their careers as smiths!

The diary plot was unused. I think there were only 10 entries in total, and none of them did an actual shocking moment to the plot. In fact, I think you could remove them and still the plot could have kept going, albeit even more boringly. Let’s face it: it was just some…odd fight between Irene America and Gil. We never find out why they were deteriorating as a couple in first place, and even though we do see their breaking apart, it feels…odd. Not forced, but it doesn’t have any sense, nor reason to exist. I still wonder what was wrong with Irene, and why she acted this way towards her husband, aside of that “reading my diary” excuse. Gil is perhaps the only a bit more realistic character and who acts more alike his personality. But Irene… Seriously, what’s wrong with her?

To resume it all, this book is disappointing. Or better said, the back cover, at least personally, disappointed me horribly. This is the second time the plot description has deceived me, but, unlike The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse, this one really punched my gut. The characters are flat—the leads, by the way, show no reason or road to mistreat this way, so I still wonder how this book came to happen—, the best idea was unused, and… Was I the only one who disliked a lot the children? I dunno, I felt them…unreal, almost disgusting, almost parodies of the actual nature of real children. It’s not the first time I’ve read porcelain children like these ones, but it surprises me, coming from Erdrich, whom I always considered an almost almighty author…

I guess I committed the mistake of liking her a lot, huh.

So these are the reviews. The best and the worst of Erdrich. And still, I recommend her a lot. Not Shadow Tag, but do know her first through the Native American series and, maybe (haven’t read it completely, but the first 20 pages did catch my attention), The Master Butcher’s Singing Club (if you’ve read it, feel free to comment on this article your recommendation). Those do contain Erdrich’s wondrous signatures and her vivid talent.

After Shadow Tag, though, I came to a concise conclusion towards Erdrich’s novels, especially the ones that promise a lot in their book covers. And take this as a heart-to-heart advice, O Reader: read their first 50 pages before you buy them. Read them consciously and without any discrimination nor obsession. Just read, and if the story comes to you as in Love Medicine, Tracks and The Last Report..., then it is worth your time.

Because after I read 50 pages of Shadow Tag, I realized I committed a great mistake in buying it.

Thanks for reading!

Please, do comment! All other recommendations of Louise Erdrich’s books are welcome.

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