the crane wife by Patrick Ness

66%

5 Critic Reviews

It’s not an easy book to settle into. Ness aggressively mixes magical realism, realism, folktale, and postmodernism, and the themes are alternately heavy-handed and inscrutable...Despite its imperfections, the book will win over adventurous readers with its originality and intensity.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

A magical novel, based on a Japanese folk tale, that imagines how the life of a broken-hearted man is transformed when he rescues an injured white crane that has landed in his backyard.

George Duncan is an American living and working in London.  At forty-eight, he owns a small print shop, is divorced, and lonelier than he realizes.  All of the women with whom he has relationships eventually leave him for being too nice.  But one night he is woken by an astonishing sound—a terrific keening, which is coming from somewhere in his garden.  When he investigates he finds a great white crane, a bird taller than even himself.  It has been shot through the wing with an arrow.  Moved more than he can say, George struggles to take out the arrow from the bird's wing, saving its life before it flies away into the night sky.

The next morning, a shaken George tries to go about his daily life, retreating to the back of his store and making cuttings from discarded books—a harmless, personal hobby—when through the front door of the shop a woman walks in.  Her name is Kumiko, and she asks George to help her with her own artwork.  George is dumbstruck by her beauty and her enigmatic nature, and begins to fall desperately in love with her.   She seems to hold the potential to change his entire life, if he could only get her to reveal the secret of who she is and why she has brought her artwork to him.

Witty, magical, and romantic, The Crane Wife is a story of passion and sacrifice, that resonates on the level of dream and myth.  It is a novel that celebrates the creative imagination, and the disruptive power of love.
 

About Patrick Ness

See more books from this Author
Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England's Radio 4 and SUNDAY TELEGRAPH and is a literary critic for the GUARDIAN. This is his first book for young adults. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published January 23, 2014 by Penguin Books. 321 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for the crane wife
All: 5 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Nov 25 2013

There’s symbolism here, with the narrative interspersed with Ness' reinterpretation of a Japanese folk tale about a woman born of clouds and a raging volcano...A magical realist meditation on how to love and be possessed by love.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Nov 11 2013

It’s not an easy book to settle into. Ness aggressively mixes magical realism, realism, folktale, and postmodernism, and the themes are alternately heavy-handed and inscrutable...Despite its imperfections, the book will win over adventurous readers with its originality and intensity.

Read Full Review of the crane wife | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Ben East on Apr 20 2013

...what's striking is the beauty and humanity of Ness's writing.

Read Full Review of the crane wife | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Ursula K Le Guin on Apr 19 2013

...there is real kindliness in the story; and kindliness is a quality even rarer in novels than in "real life, with all its disappointments".

Read Full Review of the crane wife | See more reviews from Guardian

Financial Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Prodger on Apr 26 2013

The Crane Wife will not be to everyone’s taste. If your threshold for the gently mystical is low...then you would do well to look elsewhere.

Read Full Review of the crane wife | See more reviews from Financial Times

Reader Rating for the crane wife
70%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 76 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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