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The Crane Wife PDF, ePub eBook

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30 review

The Crane Wife

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The Crane Wife PDF, ePub eBook The extraordinary happens every day... One night, George Duncan - decent man, a good man - is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by an arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George helps the bird, and from the moment he watches it fly off, his life is transformed. The next day, a kind but enigmatic woman walks into The extraordinary happens every day... One night, George Duncan - decent man, a good man - is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by an arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George helps the bird, and from the moment he watches it fly off, his life is transformed. The next day, a kind but enigmatic woman walks into George's shop. Suddenly a new world opens up for George, and one night she starts to tell him the most extraordinary story. Wise, romantic, magical and funny, The Crane Wife is a hymn to the creative imagination and a celebration of the disruptive and redemptive power of love.

30 review for The Crane Wife

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    The Crane Wife, quite simply, didn't work for me. I've been highly anticipating this book since I learned of it's coming existence for no other reason than the fact that Patrick Ness wrote it. Ness is easily one of my favourite teen/YA writers and I find myself having to read everything he writes - even when he ventures out of his comfort zone and writes a novel for adults. Not only was I eager to jump back inside Ness's brilliant mind, but the promise of a retelling of an old Japanese folktale The Crane Wife, quite simply, didn't work for me. I've been highly anticipating this book since I learned of it's coming existence for no other reason than the fact that Patrick Ness wrote it. Ness is easily one of my favourite teen/YA writers and I find myself having to read everything he writes - even when he ventures out of his comfort zone and writes a novel for adults. Not only was I eager to jump back inside Ness's brilliant mind, but the promise of a retelling of an old Japanese folktale really called to me. My knowledge of Japanese myths and stories is limited, so I was sure the experience would be something unique and refreshing. And I suppose on some level it was. The story is about George Duncan who is woken one night by a strange cry. Going outside, he discovers an injured Crane. George finds himself overcome with compassion and rushes to help the bird, removing an arrow from it's wing. The very next day, he meets Kumiko - a mysterious woman whom he falls in love with and together they create beautiful pieces of art. But George is dissatisfied with this existence and feels he needs to know more about the strange woman he loves. This desperation for knowledge is George's ultimate downfall; where the male character in the original story is ruined by his lust for money, it is George's need to know more that is his undoing. It seems like I am being very harsh and critical to say that I think Ness should stick to his more subtle tales for young adults like A Monster Calls but I don't see it that way. The Crane Wife, though Ness's most ambitious work in terms of language and complexity, seemed somewhat pretentious and overly concerned with the reiteration of its own depth. Ness has evidently tried to take his writing a step further and play with language - but this story feels a lot more strained. The message in A Monster Calls was gentle, sad and powerful. The Crane Wife made me feel like I was being smacked repeatedly in the face with lessons in the philosophy of knowledge. So, yes, I do say that Ness should stick to more subtle tales or maybe he shouldn't write for adults - who knows? - but I don't mean this as a criticism. Ness is brilliant at handling poignant tales for children, whether it be about a boy with a dying mother or an adventure in a dystopian world, but his experiment in the different here was, in my opinion, a failure. The Crane Wife really plays on the theme of knowledge and truths. I actually love and agree with the idea that the truth is not absolute but dependent on the person telling the story. I expect to see lovers of this book pulling up quotes like these: "There were as many truths – overlapping, stewed together – as there were tellers. The truth mattered less than the story’s life. A story forgotten died. A story remembered not only lived, but grew." "No one wanted to hear that people other than themselves might be complicated, that no one was ever just one thing, no history ever just one version." But I come back to the lack of subtlety again. I feel like Ness keeps making this point again and again throughout the novel until I just wanted to be like "I get it! I swear, I get it!!" I don't know why Ness was so concerned with our ability to understand the message he was trying to put across when he's managed to weave them so gently and brilliantly into his young adult works. Another thing I really didn't like was George. George is a nice guy, don't you know? Everyone loves George. George is a do-no-wrong, wonderful, women-treat-him-like-crap-cos-he's-such-a-sweetie type of guy. I can't stand that. For one, I can't stand unrealistically nice and good characters (whatever that male equivalent of Mary Sue is - I can't remember); for another, I hated the suggestion that there is something wrong with all the women who come into George's life for not appreciating him. "a pleasant enough man, but lacking that certain something, that extra little ingredient to be truly worth investing in. It was a mistake women often seemed to make. He had more female friends, including his ex-wife, than any straight man he knew. The trouble was they’d all started out as lovers, before realising he was too amiable to take quite seriously. ‘You’re about sixty-five per cent,’ his ex-wife had said, as she left him.’ And I think seventy is probably my minimum.’ The trouble was, seventy per cent seemed to be every woman’s minimum." George is that "friend zone" guy that all women adore but cannot be with for any length of time because they're too busy screwing bad guys. Why can't women just notice the nice guys standing in the wings, waiting to be awarded with sex and love for being such good friends? Ugh. This post is a fantastic discussion about the friend zone issue. The Crane Wife isn't an awful book and, like I said, there were some beautifully written parts that I'm sure many will rush to quote. For me, though, I think I'm going to stay away from any future adult books by Ness and hope he delivers more of what he's good at. It's not an insult to say his power lies in younger books with simpler language; J.K. Rowling is no Proust but there are millions of children and adults around the world that will be forever grateful that she isn't.

  2. 5 out of 5

    B the BookAddict

    Prior to reading this novel, I had read a couple of stories in Scottish folk tales and I think in one Alice Hoffman novel, featuring a Selkie; a shape shifting faerie and the basic fairytale in The Crane Wife is not dissimilar. I'm finding out recently that I do enjoy a grown-up fairy story, a fantasy novel if you will. Ness' The Crane Wife is brilliant, a whimsy, it is simply wonderful: I must make mention that I read the volcano and the crane parts twice simply to savour the beautiful imagery. Prior to reading this novel, I had read a couple of stories in Scottish folk tales and I think in one Alice Hoffman novel, featuring a Selkie; a shape shifting faerie and the basic fairytale in The Crane Wife is not dissimilar. I'm finding out recently that I do enjoy a grown-up fairy story, a fantasy novel if you will. Ness' The Crane Wife is brilliant, a whimsy, it is simply wonderful: I must make mention that I read the volcano and the crane parts twice simply to savour the beautiful imagery. Mr Ness is obviously a very imaginative man, he hasn't just written a fantastical story, he also writes some delightfully, beautifully lyrical prose. “and it was as if the night itself stopped to listen to her.” how gorgeous is that? Who could imagine a night stopping to listen? Mr Ness, that made me nearly swoon, yes, swoon; I think that type of imagery deserves a decent swoon. “The inability of people to see themselves clearly. To see what they are 'actually' like, not what they fear they are like or what they wish to be like but what they actually 'are'” “To be human is to yearn.” An example of Su Blackwell's talent. In his Notes & Acknowledgements, the author directs us to the “extraordinary of Su Blackwell” whose work is similar to that of George. Although Ness says “To compare what George does to what Su does is to compare finger-paints to Kandinsky.” While part of me is in awe of this mastery, the reader in me laments all the poor lacerated books. The Crane Wife is a magical read; a haunting tale, poignant and a little enigmatic. Ness's masterful prose in simply sublime and a pure delight to absorb . Recommended to me via Mish's review, I will remain indebted to her for bringing this wonderful foray into Ness's work to my notice. Without hesitation, 5★

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    All stories begin before they start and never, ever finish. I loved the characters that inhabit this novel. Their fairly ordinary stories of day-to-day life and their struggles with loneliness were beautiful and involving. For me, the tale of a sad divorced gentleman, his daughter, grandchild and the prospect of a new romance was magical enough. I really didn't need the 'Crane Wife' plot and the author's attempts to tie modern day reality to the folk tale didn't work for me. There were the bones o All stories begin before they start and never, ever finish. I loved the characters that inhabit this novel. Their fairly ordinary stories of day-to-day life and their struggles with loneliness were beautiful and involving. For me, the tale of a sad divorced gentleman, his daughter, grandchild and the prospect of a new romance was magical enough. I really didn't need the 'Crane Wife' plot and the author's attempts to tie modern day reality to the folk tale didn't work for me. There were the bones of a terrific story here...the feathers were not necessary.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    A very strange and inventive story that looks at love, forgiveness, and family. While I didn't totally get some of what happened, I was always intrigued and compelled to read on. I'm also glad to have finally read a book I've had on my shelf for years. If you're looking for a quick, unique read that's got humor and heart, this one will do the trick.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    Well it was OK, maybe even good which is disappointing as I expecte lot more from Patrick Ness. Competently written yes, but this book really lacks his special spice that keeps you from putting book down.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary-ellen

    Three and a half stars for me. There was some lovely writing here, and I enjoyed the strong themes around family, love and relationships that Patrick Ness explores. I love the wonderful human insights he brings to life, especially in relation to the characters of Amanda and George. It made these characters seem very real. I also liked that this was based on a Japanese folktale, which I wasn't familiar with before reading this book. Overall though, I wasn't a huge fan.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Following one of the most bizarro days in my time perusing Goodreads, I find it fitting that I pulled a Patrick Ness book out of the library bag. When so-called “authors” are attempting to cast stones at others who dare to venture out of their assigned genre – I figured it was a perfect time for me to read an author who breaks that boundary each time he puts pen to paper. I pulled The Crane Wife off the “notable releases” shelf at the Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Following one of the most bizarro days in my time perusing Goodreads, I find it fitting that I pulled a Patrick Ness book out of the library bag. When so-called “authors” are attempting to cast stones at others who dare to venture out of their assigned genre – I figured it was a perfect time for me to read an author who breaks that boundary each time he puts pen to paper. I pulled The Crane Wife off the “notable releases” shelf at the library knowing absolutely nothing about it except (i) it shared the name of an old fable; (ii) it was written by Patrick Ness; and (iii) the cover was lovely and inspired by an artist who brings new life to books that would normally be discarded I’ve had a bit of a miss with Ness’ work (A Monster Calls - don’t shoot me, I know everyone else loved it) and a major hit (More Than This). (FYI – I have had the Chaos Walking trilogy on my TBR for months, but I have been terrified I (once again) won’t looooooove it like all of my friends and I also just hate reading anything that comes in series form.) Having now read books by Ness from the children’s section, the young adult section, and the adult section of the library/bookstore I can confirm that whether I loved it or just kind of liked it – Ness consistently writes stories that I want to read and his work can’t be pigeonholed. Ness is an example of how authors should feel about writing. Don’t let yourself be typecast – break down the genre walls. Prove to all of those who say “I would never read young adult” that they will change their mind – just as soon as they read your book. Be a Patrick Ness or J.K. Rowling (or Robert Galbraith, if you must). An author whose name I see on the shelf and immediately pull the book without reading a blurb, synopsis, review, NOTHING. An author whose next release date is marked on my calendar. An author who makes me throw my planned reading list and/or book buying budget out the window because I simply can’t pass up being one of the first people who will read their latest release. I’m not the only crazy person like this – this site (and so many others) are filled with us. As for The Crane Wife - I have few words. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and real and magical and brilliant and I think I might be ready to take the plunge and read The Knife of Never Letting Go now. As for the authors haters out there who are spending so much time and effort belittling other authors or reviewers:

  8. 4 out of 5

    Connie G

    3.5 stars. "The Crane Wife" is a contemporary retelling of a Japanese folk tale. In the original story a poor sailmaker helps an injured crane by pulling an arrow from her wing. The next day a beautiful woman arrives at his home, and soon becomes his wife. She offers to weave sails for him which brings in needed income, but with the condition that he cannot watch her work. The sailmaker becomes greedy and takes in more and more orders for sails. Eventually he went into her private room as she wa 3.5 stars. "The Crane Wife" is a contemporary retelling of a Japanese folk tale. In the original story a poor sailmaker helps an injured crane by pulling an arrow from her wing. The next day a beautiful woman arrives at his home, and soon becomes his wife. She offers to weave sails for him which brings in needed income, but with the condition that he cannot watch her work. The sailmaker becomes greedy and takes in more and more orders for sails. Eventually he went into her private room as she was working and saw a crane weakly plucking the last feathers from her body. His greed ruined the relationship and he was left alone. (There are other variations of this tale.) Patrick Ness has written a modern version of this folk tale set in London involving George and Kumiko. Kumiko brings George the love he needs, but always keeps her past very private. She makes exquisite artworks by combining her cuttings of feathers with George's paper cuttings made from old books. Kumiko's artistic tiles tell a secondary story about a volcano who destroys the earth (but also creates mountains), and a bird called "the lady" who forgives out of love. These two stories have elements of fantasy, myth, and magical realism. George has a daughter Amanda, a young divorced mother of a toddler, who has problems with anger, self-acceptance, and despair. Her story is more realistic and sometimes funny, and would probably give this adult novel crossover appeal to a YA audience. The humorous Mehmet, a twenty-something assistant at George's store, is also a young character that would appeal to a YA reader. I read a children's book, "A Monster Calls", by Patrick Ness a few years ago and was very impressed. Although I enjoyed "The Crane Wife", I felt that there was a bit too much going on at once with a fantasy (the volcano and the lady) within another fantasy (George and the crane/Kumiko), plus Amanda's emotional journey. The author writes beautifully, has a sense of humor, and understands human nature. I just prefer his simpler stories to a more convoluted one. The recordings of The Decemberists of "The Crane Wife 1 & 2" also inspired the author to write the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ERax...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mish

    Patrick Ness got the idea for part of this book from a Japanese folk tale, The Crane Wife, a tale that I must admit was not familiar with. Mr. Ness weaves part of this tale into modern day life so effortlessly – even non-readers of fantasy/magic could read because the feelings/thought/actions that are portrayed here are real and genuine. He created a heartwarming and sweeping story about love in all its exquisiteness and fury. And it’s told through three series of events. The Mythical creatures, Patrick Ness got the idea for part of this book from a Japanese folk tale, The Crane Wife, a tale that I must admit was not familiar with. Mr. Ness weaves part of this tale into modern day life so effortlessly – even non-readers of fantasy/magic could read because the feelings/thought/actions that are portrayed here are real and genuine. He created a heartwarming and sweeping story about love in all its exquisiteness and fury. And it’s told through three series of events. The Mythical creatures, the crane and the volcano, fiercely in love but vastly different in their beliefs. The volcano wants destruction and war, where the crane wants harmony and forgiveness in our world. Not willing to see eye to eye, their love turns into a hurtful and dangerous game of possession and rage. George Duncan, a divorced man, ordinary and middle aged owns a printing shop. When Kumiko, a mysterious woman enters his shop, George’s life is forever changed. Kumiko will show George a life of love through passion, art and storytelling. But George is starting to feel little insecure and impatient with Kumiko secretive nature, and this is were complications begin. Amanda Duncan, daughter of George Duncan, always had difficulty relating to people. She is highly opinionated and can come across as a bit arrogant. But when her French Husband Henri, the man she’s still in love with, broke up with her, Amanda’s emotions crumble. She lost the man whom she thought knew, or understood her best. Amanda becomes bitter, angry, cries at the drop of a hat. She desperately craves for friendship, someone to talk to, but hasn’t a clue how to go about it. I’m really at a loss for word on how to describe my feeling about this book, but many times I just wanted to wrap my arms around it and hug it. My heart swelled with much emotions by the simple, yet significant dialogue used to express love for someone, kindness and gratitude. There was lot of humour too, which Ness blended in with ease. Like the gorgeous cover, the story is incredibly picturesque with the tiled art that George and Kumiko create using feathers and paper cuttings used from discarded books. The soft white feather of the crane in the mythical story, you just want to touch with your fingers, and the hot blazing yellow/red/orange volcano that complements his fiery temperament – Absolutely magnificent!! Patrick Ness is incredible and is becoming my new favourite writer. This is beautifully written book that had me spellbound. If you like a good romance with a difference (magic), I do suggest try this one and hope you too fall under its spell. Read for #litexp14 - Magical Realism

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    An act of kindness gets payed forward, a series of hearts become warmed and love takes reign. The story successfully grabs you by the first page with a scene unfolding that’s visceral and magical in its compassion and kindness. This story Crane Wife was inspired due to it being a folklore tale told to author in his youth. The author has used a unique original way to tell this tale and has used his way of retelling it and his own rules which worked and connected for me, he unorthodoxly tells two st An act of kindness gets payed forward, a series of hearts become warmed and love takes reign. The story successfully grabs you by the first page with a scene unfolding that’s visceral and magical in its compassion and kindness. This story Crane Wife was inspired due to it being a folklore tale told to author in his youth. The author has used a unique original way to tell this tale and has used his way of retelling it and his own rules which worked and connected for me, he unorthodoxly tells two stories in one, he weaves a folklore lore story in a separate realm and world in separate chapters but in a parallel with the main protagonists real world story. Dreams and realities take the storytelling to great places some mysterious, others tender and heartwarming. There is a great tale here in the whole picture. This starts off like a mosaic very small carefully made pieces, meaningfully put together and then the grand finished picture. Put together like a jigsaw puzzle, when you final come away from the story that final piece that painting it formed in your mind every reader or onlooker may come away with something different, another interpretation and muse over it, some may see the beauty and the love it leaves you with in its grand poignant love story. It’s the kind of story that may have you grabbing your loved ones close or seeking out humanity in need of company and cherish one more last breath before the curtain drops. This final piece, this novel is a memorable and meaningful work on the combined elements of kindness, love, regret, loss and forgiveness. A illuminating heart, of a splendrous tale. Review also @ http://more2read.com/review/the-crane-wife-by-patrick-ness/

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Lynn (thepagemistress)

    Beautifully written. I just didn't connect well with any of the characters. I felt too much like an outsider when reading this. But wow dies Ness know how to build a book before your eyes. I think I'm just not at an age yet to appreciate this fully.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    I just want to start this review by saying that this cover does its contents no justice. It is not that I dislike the cover, but I feel it doesn't match the poignancy of the book too well. But, hey, the lesson here is to never judge a book by it's cover, kids! I read one paragraph of this book and I instantly knew I was falling in love. Having previously only read Ness' YA fiction, I was intrigued as to how his adult fiction would translate. I am so pleased to say that it had the same delicacy an I just want to start this review by saying that this cover does its contents no justice. It is not that I dislike the cover, but I feel it doesn't match the poignancy of the book too well. But, hey, the lesson here is to never judge a book by it's cover, kids! I read one paragraph of this book and I instantly knew I was falling in love. Having previously only read Ness' YA fiction, I was intrigued as to how his adult fiction would translate. I am so pleased to say that it had the same delicacy and poignancy incorporated in the writing. The opening paragraph sums up Ness' writing entirely and beautifully - vividly piquant, heart-achingly descriptive and quietly witty. His writing continually shocks and enlightens me as he constantly pushes the boundaries of the reader's expectations, whether that's from something as simple as sudden humour or something as dark as a sudden plunge into death and despair. Here, it was the former, but that did not mean it set the tone for the entire book. There was plenty of the latter thrown into the mix too, in true Ness style. The Crane Wife is the story of George Duncan, who is the epitome of the average man. That is until he is awoken at night by the distinctly unaverage occurrence of a crane crash-landing in his back garden, after being hit through the wing by an arrow. This mix of the fantastical and the ordinary is where the power of the book lay. It is a book full of ordinary, everyday people, the ones unlikely to have a story written about them at all. But here they are. And here it is. It is sometimes a little arduous to dissect the truth of the story in amongst the overlying sub-plots and side-story. But, to quote Ness himself, "there were as many truths - overlapping, stewed together - as there were tellers. The truth mattered less than the story's life . A story forgotten died. A story remembered not only lived, but grew ." And I wholeheartedly agree.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linna

    Sadly disappointed by this book. George is a boring, bland character that I couldn't stand, and the writing has that certain quality that I often find in adult books - the kind that make me want to bang my head against the wall. They're filled with endless descriptions dithering around for ages, talking about nothing with a hint of pretentiousness permeating every scene. And then when the themes and messages come in, they're communicated in a heavy-handed way. I don't hate this book, but I do ge Sadly disappointed by this book. George is a boring, bland character that I couldn't stand, and the writing has that certain quality that I often find in adult books - the kind that make me want to bang my head against the wall. They're filled with endless descriptions dithering around for ages, talking about nothing with a hint of pretentiousness permeating every scene. And then when the themes and messages come in, they're communicated in a heavy-handed way. I don't hate this book, but I do get an overwhelming feeling of: meh.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy | shoutame

    A whimsical and touching read. So incredibly different to all of the other books I have read from Patrick Ness - this guy has some serious skill. - So we follow the story of a man named George. One night George is woken by a strange sound coming from his garden. Upon further investigation George discovers a large crane has landed with an arrow shot through it's wing. He helps remove the arrow from the crane and the bird then takes flight, leaving George in a dazed and confused state - he can't qu A whimsical and touching read. So incredibly different to all of the other books I have read from Patrick Ness - this guy has some serious skill. - So we follow the story of a man named George. One night George is woken by a strange sound coming from his garden. Upon further investigation George discovers a large crane has landed with an arrow shot through it's wing. He helps remove the arrow from the crane and the bird then takes flight, leaving George in a dazed and confused state - he can't quite work out if he was dreaming or not. The next day a mysterious and beautiful woman enters George's shop and he feels as if he already knows her. The woman brings an exquisite piece of art to George and convinces him to allow her to incorporate his own artwork into hers (does that make sense?!). So George and the mystery lady continue making art together and it becomes incredibly valuable. People can't seem to get enough of it and this sends George's life into a whirlwind of delight and confusion. - In this novel we read through three main perspectives - George, his Daughter, Amanda and The Crane. We see how George's relationship flourishes whilst his Daughter battles with her bitchy work colleagues and difficult ex-husband. I found Amanda's story to be somewhat humorous and loved the interactions she had with her colleagues. All of these stories slowly turn back to the crane and Ness manages to beautiful link them all come the end. - The mystery surrounding the woman continues throughout the novel and we are also given snippets of story from the life of the crane that landed in George's garden. Ness has interwoven elements of folk law and myth to create a wonderfully allegorical tale full of intrigue and beauty. I have never read a novel quite like it! - 3 out of 5 stars and I would definitely recommend to everyone - especially any love of Patrick Ness!

  15. 5 out of 5

    TheBookSmugglers

    Original review posted on The Book Smugglers “The Crane Wife” is an old Japanese folktale. Its most common version tells the story of a poor sail maker who one day finds a wounded crane and nurses it back to health. After he releases the crane, a beautiful woman appears on his doorstep. He falls in love with her and they marry. Their marriage is happy but they are poor so his wife offers to weave these wonderful sails they can sell but only if he agrees never to watch her weaving them. They make Original review posted on The Book Smugglers “The Crane Wife” is an old Japanese folktale. Its most common version tells the story of a poor sail maker who one day finds a wounded crane and nurses it back to health. After he releases the crane, a beautiful woman appears on his doorstep. He falls in love with her and they marry. Their marriage is happy but they are poor so his wife offers to weave these wonderful sails they can sell but only if he agrees never to watch her weaving them. They make a lot of money, the husband becomes increasingly greedy, asking his wife to weave more and more. He eventually breaks his promise and peeks in to see his wife’s working only to discover that at the loom, a crane is doing the work, plucking feathers from her own body and weaving them into the sails. The crane – who was of course, his wife – flies away and never returns. This tale can be interpreted as a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed, a melancholy story about love lost, a sad account of promises broken and lines crossed. Patrick Ness’ The Crane Wife is a retelling of that tale, set in modern-day Britain. American expat George wakes up one day in the middle of the night to find a wounded crane in his garden. Incredibly moved by the vision and the pain the beautiful crane is in, he helps the bird, removing an arrow from his wing. The next day, an enigmatic woman called Kumiko walks into George’s printing shop and his life is transformed. They fall in love and there is whirlwind romance but also communion through art. Kumiko creates wonderful artwork of scenes and characters made of feathers but thinks they lack a certain something. When she sees the cuttings George makes out of pages from old books, she realises their potential. By combining her scenes and George’s cuttings, Kumiko composes extraordinary art that deeply move not only George but also an increasing number of people who offer ludicrous amounts of money for the pieces. George grows increasingly greedy and this is where Ness departs from the original story, for his greed is not for money but greed born out of love, a want for more knowledge about Kumiko, who remains elusive and mysterious to him despite their growing love. In fact, the more time they spend together, the less he seems to know Kumiko. In the meantime, the two work together on a series of art pieces that tell a story that is both myth and reality. Their story runs parallel to that of George’s daughter Amanda. Amanda is a troubled young woman, whose anger and cutting remarks make it difficult connecting to friends and family. Her tale is a tale of self-acceptance and it too, is connected to Kumiko’s presence in their lives. There is a moment in the book when its protagonist George expounds on the nature of memory and storytelling. On how different people might retell one story in a variety of ways and how this matters not because there is hope of finding out “what really happened” but because: "There were as many truths – overlapping, stewed together – as there were tellers. The truth mattered less than the story’s life. A story forgotten died. A story remembered not only lived, but grew." This idea is a very strong presence in Ness’ tale: it shapes both George and Kumiko’s lives, it is repeated ad nauseam throughout the book (more on the issue of repetitiveness later) and is used by the author himself when writing the actual narrative. Toward the ending, for example, one single event takes place and its very existence is presented as a possible result of a myriad of actions. It is possible to take this idea and expand on it: as a reviewer and as a reader, my interpretation and reading of The Crane Wife is only one among many and are definitely shaped by who I am and my experience as a reviewer. To me, The Crane Wife turned out to be a combination of several different things that rubbed me the wrong way. Fairytales and folktales are usually concerned with the “what happens next”, with story and themes rather than character development. In fact most of the time, characters in fairytales/folktales are archetypes i.e. the Mother, the Father, the Princess, the Crane Wife. When reading a retelling, I expect more. I expect more from its themes, its story and I definitely expect more from its characters. In The Crane Wife, a lot of the original folktale has been changed, reshaped to fit a more contemporary Western setting and its themes re-imagined. But the strongest connection to the original Japanese story remains the crane wife herself, Kumiko. I have nothing against retellings of stories in different settings, of bringing the Japanese folktale of the Crane Wife to the West (the more people reading these stories, the better, and I like the variation from the usual western fairy tales). That said, the fact that the only magical, “mysterious”, “alluring” character is still a Japanese woman while everyone else of note is white is terribly problematic to me because it definitely plays into the “allure of the East” trope. In fairness, and going back to different readings, there are other possible interpretations for this: Kumiko, despite her name and the fact that most characters do think she is Japanese, is often presented as a mythological figure that is ageless, timeless, placeless. Her mysteriousness is the very topic of the story, and it is possible to argue that she is only “mysterious” because those who interact with her are not satisfied with how she presents herself – as a quiet woman, who wishes to keep her own private thoughts. A secondary PoC character do call out George’s attraction to Kumiko thusly: ‘This isn’t some mysterious allure of the East thing you’ve got with this woman, is it? Because I’d find that, like, amazingly offensive.’ Although I find that more of a deflecting tongue in cheek comment, perhaps a nod to concerned readers like me. Especially when that line is followed by: ‘You’re from the East, Mehmet, and I find you neither mysterious nor alluring.’ I personally do not think any of this mitigates the problem because Kumiko is never truly developed in a meaningful way and the story is strongly George’s and Amanda’s. Speaking of George there is an incredibly annoying emphasis on how much of a “nice guy” George is. It overwhelms the narrative sometimes. George is: "a pleasant enough man, but lacking that certain something, that extra little ingredient to be truly worth investing in. It was a mistake women often seemed to make. He had more female friends, including his ex-wife, than any straight man he knew. The trouble was they’d all started out as lovers, before realising he was too amiable to take quite seriously. ‘You’re about sixty-five per cent,’ his ex-wife had said, as she left him.’ And I think seventy is probably my minimum.’ The trouble was, seventy per cent seemed to be every woman’s minimum." I have a predisposition to absolutely abhor characters like George who, because of their decency, expect to be rewarded by the universe with the love of a good woman. One can definitely argue that this is George’s view of himself but every single character remarks on George’s nice-guy status. And the universe and the narrative of The Crane Wife actually do attempt to reward him for that. There is some real beauty in The Crane Wife though – there is beauty in how Amanda’s story is written, her arc one of self-knowledge and acceptance. There is beauty in the way that the story acknowledges that George’s greed for truly knowing Kumiko’s as perfectly understandable, perfectly human. Wanting to truly know someone can be a huge part of falling in love but there is also the question about what motivates that type of greed. The question of knowing the other can also be read as attempting to owning someone and in this scenario also effectively disrespecting the other’s own momentum and imposed limits. But those moments of beauty and truth are buried under the repetitiveness strain of its themes – forgiveness, power of storytelling, greed – and the odd bluntness in which they are presented. Kumiko repeats George’s and the author’s point: "Not explain. Stories do not explain. They seem to, but all they provide is a starting point. A story never ends at the end. There is always after. And even within itself, even by saying that this version is the right one, it suggests other versions, versions that exist in parallel. No, a story is not an explanation, it is a net, a net through which the truth flows." And then George explicitly summarises: "he had demanded. He had been stupidly, stupidly greedy for knowledge of her. And he had found out. He knew her. But wasn’t that what love really was, though? Knowledge? Yes. And then again, no." For a story that spends a lot of time attempting to be elusive as well as allusive, these moments of tactless “deep” lesson-teaching are pretentious and eye-rolling. It is funny that I found A Monster Calls, Ness’ book for children, a much more nuanced and subtle story than his book for adults. Go figure.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    When a man named George Duncan saves the life of a beautiful white crane with crimson red crest and golden eyes who has been struck by an arrow and pulling it out, he thinks it is a dream but is surprised when a mysterious young woman named Kumiko changes his life forever by giving him the gift of love and of paper cuttings that are turned into artistic masterpieces. Can their love survive and will his happiness last? Read on and find out for yourself. This is a pretty good and sad read that is b When a man named George Duncan saves the life of a beautiful white crane with crimson red crest and golden eyes who has been struck by an arrow and pulling it out, he thinks it is a dream but is surprised when a mysterious young woman named Kumiko changes his life forever by giving him the gift of love and of paper cuttings that are turned into artistic masterpieces. Can their love survive and will his happiness last? Read on and find out for yourself. This is a pretty good and sad read that is based on a Japanese folk tale. I enjoyed checking out this new story from Patrick Ness the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy. Definitely check this out for yourself if you love stories about forgiveness and being loved in return. You can find this book at your local library and wherever books are sold.

  17. 5 out of 5

    ✨Skye✨

    Having read most of Ness’ other works, I have to say that I think this is my least favourite. This is a book for someone with a very good eye for hidden messages and metaphor, and perhaps a better knowledge of Japanese folklore than I have. This unfortunately just went mostly over my head. The Crane Wife follows George, a divorcee who runs a shoe shop and retains a close relationship with his ex-wife and daughter. When he has an encounter with an injured crane one night, it sets off a sequence of Having read most of Ness’ other works, I have to say that I think this is my least favourite. This is a book for someone with a very good eye for hidden messages and metaphor, and perhaps a better knowledge of Japanese folklore than I have. This unfortunately just went mostly over my head. The Crane Wife follows George, a divorcee who runs a shoe shop and retains a close relationship with his ex-wife and daughter. When he has an encounter with an injured crane one night, it sets off a sequence of events involving him and his daughter, including George’s meeting with Kumiko, a mysterious woman who he will grow to love. This book is so explicit about itself. It tells you about it’s hidden depths and the messages readers are meant to discern, but I just didn’t get any of them. This is a book where it’s not the book, it’s me, because I just didn’t really get what this book was trying to tell me. I only really understood the plot on a surface level, with very basic links to the underlying folklore tale it was meant to replicate. I did appreciate the characters. Each of them was in an unsatisfied stage in their lives and I do think this book does a good job of teaching us to appreciate what is around us and to take advantage of it. Amanda and Rachel are both difficult women who don’t fit in, and it’s nice to see women being unashamedly so. George himself is a little bland, which I guess is how Ness intends to portray him, but he is sweet and I did like him. Ness’ prose is as always beautiful, and I definitely admire that about this book. Ultimately, I don’t have a fat lot to say about a book I didn’t really understand. I do still love Ness as an author, but this book has a very particular audience to which I do not belong.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stella Chen

    Edit #2: Hmmm...after reading Brigid's review, I am not sure I want to read this anymore...I'll wait for More Than This instead. Edit: Ohhhh a cover and a description! I totally love the sound of this book. Sounds reminiscent of classic fairy tales where the nice but poor girl helps out an old lady, who happens to be a magical person in disguise. Also, I've been looking to read more adult fiction and what's better than a Patrick Ness book? I cannot wait! End of edit. My logic: Patrick Ness wrote i Edit #2: Hmmm...after reading Brigid's review, I am not sure I want to read this anymore...I'll wait for More Than This instead. Edit: Ohhhh a cover and a description! I totally love the sound of this book. Sounds reminiscent of classic fairy tales where the nice but poor girl helps out an old lady, who happens to be a magical person in disguise. Also, I've been looking to read more adult fiction and what's better than a Patrick Ness book? I cannot wait! End of edit. My logic: Patrick Ness wrote it so must be good.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brigid ✩

    Actual rating: 2.5 stars "A story needs to be told. A story must be told. How else can we live in this world that makes no sense?" One night, George Duncan is woken up by a strange keening noise in his backyard. Upon going outside, he finds a crane with an arrow through its wing. George helps the crane and sets it free––and from there, his life changes. The next day, George meets a mysterious woman named Kumiko. The two of them begin creating beautiful art pieces out of old books, and soon fall in Actual rating: 2.5 stars "A story needs to be told. A story must be told. How else can we live in this world that makes no sense?" One night, George Duncan is woken up by a strange keening noise in his backyard. Upon going outside, he finds a crane with an arrow through its wing. George helps the crane and sets it free––and from there, his life changes. The next day, George meets a mysterious woman named Kumiko. The two of them begin creating beautiful art pieces out of old books, and soon fall in love. But Kumiko seems to be hiding things, and something about her is almost otherworldly, maybe even inhuman … Let's get one thing straight right now. I have no doubt that Patrick Ness can write an amazing book. His Chaos Walking trilogy is hands-down my favorite series ever, and his book A Monster Calls is one of the most beautiful YA novels I've ever read. Few books have moved me the way his books have, and he is one of my all-time favorite authors. I hope that one day I will meet him. And hug him. And probably cry. That said, I was a bit nervous about him writing a book for adults––but like I said, he's one of my favorite authors, so I tried to go into this book with an open mind. After all, I do really like fantasy realism and mythology and all that jazz. But after reading this book … all I can really say is: Patrick Ness, please stick to writing YA. Please, please, please. Don't get me wrong. The Crane Wife isn't a terrible book. It's good. But that's all it is. It's just … good. Fine. Whatever. It's an intriguing story, and it's pretty well-written for the most part. But I didn't find anything particularly remarkable about it. The strong sense of voice, the high levels of emotion, the excitement, and the relatable characters that are so present in the Chaos Walking books just aren't present in this novel. I liked the premise of this book. That's … about it, really. I found the characters to be pretty dull and lacking in distinctive qualities. I just didn't care about any of them. They were all just "ordinary" people (well, except Kumiko I guess … but even she wasn't that interesting). Not much happens in the book. Besides the little hints of mysticism here and there, mostly it was just kind of about people living their daily lives. I never thought I would say this about a book by Patrick Ness, but … honestly, I got bored. The writing was all right. Just all right. Which kills me, because I think Patrick Ness is a truly brilliant writer. But the style felt so forced in this book. I think this is why I tend to stick to reading YA books rather than reading adult books … There tends to be this sense in adult books to impress the audience, and so the author's voice doesn't feel completely authentic. The style in Ness's Chaos Walking series is so innovative and gives the narrating characters such strong voices. The voice was really lacking in The Crane Wife for me. It felt to me like Ness was holding back, not writing in his usual creative style … not to make assumptions, but maybe because he finds it more intimidating to write for adults than to write for teenagers. Over all, I just felt that there was no passion in this book. While Patrick Ness's other books made me extremely emotional, I felt next to nothing while reading this novel. It was a fairly good read, but it just wasn't that good or that memorable. I know that Patrick Ness has another YA book coming out in the fall called More Than This, which sounds like it will be really good. And I just hope he keeps writing YA books, because I think that's where his strength is.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shahirah Loqman

    This is a book that might not be for everyone. As goes with all Japanese infused stories, poetry and art is always added into the mix which either makes us love the story, or hate it (think: Haruki Murakami). Surprisingly I enjoyed this book and all of its confusing abstract artistic glory. There isn't much of a story plot going on. Just a guy falling in love with a girl who happens to be some sort of mysterious creature created aeons ago. But the one thing I always look for in a book asides fro This is a book that might not be for everyone. As goes with all Japanese infused stories, poetry and art is always added into the mix which either makes us love the story, or hate it (think: Haruki Murakami). Surprisingly I enjoyed this book and all of its confusing abstract artistic glory. There isn't much of a story plot going on. Just a guy falling in love with a girl who happens to be some sort of mysterious creature created aeons ago. But the one thing I always look for in a book asides from its story plot, is its writing style. And I truly loved this one. It's just simply beautiful and made me easily immersed in the story without much effort. I didn't feel any special attachment to the characters per se, but I do like the closure each of them had at the end of the story. And that was worth it, in my opinion. So, if you enjoy a very different take on books, or am looking for something totally different, this book might just be it. It is my first Patrick Ness novel, and I have no regrets :)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    The Crane wife is loosely based on a Japanese myth and is written as a story within a story. George is a divorced, lonely man who wakes up one night to find a wounded crane in his back garden. George removes the arrow embedded in the crane's wing and the crane flies away. The next day a beautiful woman, Kumiko, arrives at his printing business and George falls instantly in love with her. George's daughter, Amanda also divorced and lonely, and bringing up her son, JP, is often angry at her father The Crane wife is loosely based on a Japanese myth and is written as a story within a story. George is a divorced, lonely man who wakes up one night to find a wounded crane in his back garden. George removes the arrow embedded in the crane's wing and the crane flies away. The next day a beautiful woman, Kumiko, arrives at his printing business and George falls instantly in love with her. George's daughter, Amanda also divorced and lonely, and bringing up her son, JP, is often angry at her father and those around her. Kumiko moves into their lives and shows them how to love and forgive themselves and others. Throughout the story the myth-like tale of the lady and the volcano is told in parallel with the events occurring to George and Kumiko and both stories are thoroughly engaging. This is a lovely, lyrical story and one I enjoyed very much. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Orsolya

    As fan of folk tales, myths, and art; “The Crane Wife” by Patrick Ness instantly caught my eye. Being a novel loosely based on a Japanese folk tale plus an interpretation by the band The Decemberists; what could go wrong? In my mind, the novel could either be a pretentious mess or a multi-level treat. How did “The Crane Wife” fare? Although I have never read Ness’s other works, I understand that he is popular for his short stories; which is quickly deduced from the writing style in “The Crane Wi As fan of folk tales, myths, and art; “The Crane Wife” by Patrick Ness instantly caught my eye. Being a novel loosely based on a Japanese folk tale plus an interpretation by the band The Decemberists; what could go wrong? In my mind, the novel could either be a pretentious mess or a multi-level treat. How did “The Crane Wife” fare? Although I have never read Ness’s other works, I understand that he is popular for his short stories; which is quickly deduced from the writing style in “The Crane Wife”. The characters and plot are not traditionally introduced nor evolve naturally, as the reader is simply thrown into the story. Granted, the text is very well written with beautiful language and illustrative depth; but this style may feel a bit devoid for some readers. On a related note, “The Crane Wife” takes on too much of a short story format with the chapters alternating between characters, time periods/memories, and even writing styles. This makes each section feel like a separate story, is chaotic, and difficult to follow resulting in some dissonance from the main plot. In fact, the main idea of the story is lost and buried underneath too many external side-plots. None of the characters in “The Crane Wife” are particularly likable. George (main character) is dull and Amanda (his daughter) is quite annoying. Only Kumiko (the actual crane wife) is notable in presentation. Kumiko envelops every magical element of folk tales and throws it at the reader in the best way possible. Her interactions with George are lovely and carry a peaceful Zen – if only Ness focused on them which “The Crane Wife” implies it does but doesn’t. Ness’s attempt to write a folk tale with ethereal qualities combined with that of a modern story (complete with social media references) is very disjointed and adds to the insoluble essence and discrepancies in the storytelling. “The Crane Wife” is ‘all over the place’. The major grievance with the novel is an absence of a forward-moving plot with nothing truly happening. Those events that do occur do not push the story and are predictable. This is not because Ness instead focuses on surrealism, folk tale structure, creation myths, or character studies because such rudiments are missing, as well (and I would have preferred such an angle). The execution is simply flat and doesn’t capture the magic that the concept of the story could have presented. “The Crane Wife” finally picks up and begins to spin near the end of the novel with the onset of the climax. At this point, the story is exciting and eventful although it takes too long to reach this point and is now cluttered with too much going on as if Ness waited during the whole book and finally exploded. The rapid jump from ‘nothing’ to ‘everything’ is not enjoyable. With that being said, the conclusion is indeed interesting and has some depth with its message. If only the entire book was more like the last chapters… In summation, “The Crane Wife” has its moments but it is an unexciting piece which misses the instrumental elements a novel based on a folk tale should have. There is hardly any inspiration, symbolism, or beauty on its pages. The novel is a prime example of a solid idea being poorly executed. With a feeling best described as ‘meh’; “The Crane Wife” is not wholeheartedly recommended (nor would I read another piece from this author) and is a “hit-or-miss” with readers (I suspect a ‘hit’ with those who are suckers for overly publicized works and bandwagons).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This book is quite simply beautiful. A retelling/reimagining of the classic Japanese folk tale, it is a book about magic but above all, love. Ness brilliantly tells this story with the necessary ambiguity of such a story - I can't go into too much about the story as the narrative is not a standard type. The hero/protagonist George is awoken one night by the cries of a huge crane in his backyard. He struggles to set it free. The next day, Kumiko arrives in his print shop and soon blossoms a love This book is quite simply beautiful. A retelling/reimagining of the classic Japanese folk tale, it is a book about magic but above all, love. Ness brilliantly tells this story with the necessary ambiguity of such a story - I can't go into too much about the story as the narrative is not a standard type. The hero/protagonist George is awoken one night by the cries of a huge crane in his backyard. He struggles to set it free. The next day, Kumiko arrives in his print shop and soon blossoms a love affair as she produces magical artworks based on cranes. Soon they are raking in the money from her artworks which she insists he receives half the profits. Ness interweaves this story with the more traditional elements of the folk tale, namely the relationship between a crane and a volcano - this is clearly not an easy story to describe in a rational sense which is one of it's greatest strengths and highlights the magical nature of the story. For me, the only jarring character was that of George's daughter Amanda, a very bitter person indeed as she has been unable to sustain loving relationships. Ness credits the great Portland, Oregon band, The Decemberists 2006 prog folk masterpiece, The Crane Wife, as being an inspiration for this book. I have been a huge fan of The Decemberists for many years. Thank you Mish for recommending this book. I read this in conjunction with a couple of Graham Greene's more "Catholic" works so the contrast in styles and ideas was a great reading experience. I really hope Ness turns his hand to a re-interpretaion of the Decemberists best album, "The Hazards of Love" :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melanti

    Ness is trying too hard to appeal to adults and as a result comes across as pretentious. But in-between the pretentious moments, there's some really juvenile moments - such as saying someone widdled or weed instead of just saying they peed. What adult says "widdled"? I also wasn't a fan of 65% male George (which is apparently the amount of masculinity being a "nice guy" rates you) and his ventures into more typical masculinity. (view spoiler)[Which involves cheating on his fiance (which he feels Ness is trying too hard to appeal to adults and as a result comes across as pretentious. But in-between the pretentious moments, there's some really juvenile moments - such as saying someone widdled or weed instead of just saying they peed. What adult says "widdled"? I also wasn't a fan of 65% male George (which is apparently the amount of masculinity being a "nice guy" rates you) and his ventures into more typical masculinity. (view spoiler)[Which involves cheating on his fiance (which he feels sorry for) and breaking into said fiance's apartment (which he feels makes him a man, because what man would put up with not being invited into a fiance's house?) (hide spoiler)] Both events left a terrible taste in my mouth - cause after chapters of George whining that he was constantly friend-zoned because no female wants to date a "nice guy", he ends up not respecting his fiance and being a generic all-American asshole.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    I received this book through Goodreads giveaways! 4.5 rating! There really is no way to summarize this book. It truly is a work of art. The message is universal and can be taken to mean many different things to different people. For me this book took an old Japanese fairytale about a crane who turns into a woman who represents love and forgiveness through time. It's about a man who finds joy in creating sculptures out of pages of books, and it's about stories that get told and passed down from g I received this book through Goodreads giveaways! 4.5 rating! There really is no way to summarize this book. It truly is a work of art. The message is universal and can be taken to mean many different things to different people. For me this book took an old Japanese fairytale about a crane who turns into a woman who represents love and forgiveness through time. It's about a man who finds joy in creating sculptures out of pages of books, and it's about stories that get told and passed down from generation to generation; changing within the years. This book is so beautiful, strange and thought provoking!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    The first fifty or so pages I was thinking "It's beautifully written. I usually hate that." And I thought about putting it down. I think it was the description of the art which really convinced me to keep going. After a while I began to appreciate the purely mundane bumping up against the magical In the end I really enjoyed it a great deal. Far too much to use words like "luminous" or "lyrical"; it's earthier than that. Library copy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

    3.5/5 Full review to come

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    Okay, so... I love Patrick Ness' writing. I really do. But I seem to have mixed feelings about his books a lot of the time. Some I absolutely love, and some... not so much. This was one of the latter. I don't even really know why, because I did like the characters, but for some reason the plot felt incomprehensible to me and I just couldn't connect to the book. Maybe I just read it at a bad time, I don't know. But this is certainly not my favourite of his.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sienna

    I love storytelling more than I can say, especially the old stories: myths, fairy tales, folklore. Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy was so brilliantly crafted and moving that I wanted — expected — to love this reworking of a melancholy Japanese folktale just as much. But it fell flat for me from the clumsy opening line: What actually woke him was the unearthly sound itself — a mournful shatter of frozen midnight falling to earth to pierce his heart and lodge there forever, never to move, nev I love storytelling more than I can say, especially the old stories: myths, fairy tales, folklore. Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy was so brilliantly crafted and moving that I wanted — expected — to love this reworking of a melancholy Japanese folktale just as much. But it fell flat for me from the clumsy opening line: What actually woke him was the unearthly sound itself — a mournful shatter of frozen midnight falling to earth to pierce his heart and lodge there forever, never to move, never to melt — but he, being who he was, assumed it was his bladder. So close. So very close. It's not the bladder humor, which I kind of adore; no, what bothers me is the way "being who he was" leaps out, begging an attentive editor's finger-wagging nudge. That awkward rhythm echoes again and again over the course of this slight novel, bolstered by too many split infinitives, a personal bugbear that never fails to push me out of the narrative. Mythology seems to me a particularly delicate form, one that seeks and rewards deft hands, voices free of ornamentation, imaginations so rich they reinvent the old, tired and familiar in the reader's mind. Ness is a capable dreamer, a competent writer. But The Crane Wife is unsubtle in its themes of forgiveness, knowledge and greed, and inconsistent in its characterization; Amanda is beautifully realized, while the more typically archetypal Kumiko, veiled in feathers, lives only in the corner of the reader's eye, mid-blink. The moments that should be transcendent feel more like fortune cookies: prettily pat, mysterious and infinitely interpretable. And yet some of these maladroit truisms charmed me: 'No!' she said, suddenly sharp. 'Not explain. Stories do not explain. They seem to, but all they provide is a starting point. A story never ends at the end. There is always after. And even within itself, even by saying that this version is the right one, it suggests other versions, versions that exist in parallel. No, a story is not an explanation, it is a net, a net through which the truth flows. The net catches some of the truth, but not all, never all, only enough so that we can live with the extraordinary without it killing us.' She sagged a little, as if exhausted by this speech. 'As it surely, surely would.' After a moment, George asked, 'Has something extraordinary happened to you?' 'To me,' she said, 'and to everyone. To you, too, George, I'm sure.' 'Yes,' he said, feeling the truth of it. Unfortunately, this feathery storytelling net catches more than truth. I struggled most of all with the elements of folkloric intervention Ness introduced. It is one thing to weave myth and ordinary, extraordinary, everyday life, and quite another to let the otherworldly intervene. Robbing characters of free will and responsibility makes me uncomfortable. It makes them act in ways they don't understand and don't really want to examine; it transforms velleity into validity in a strange dream-language that leaves everyone feeling hollow at the end. Incidentally, this is how listening to the Decemberists makes me feel. Which is to say that these are all pretty personal complaints. You may not find Colin Meloy and company a gimmicky, soulless band, and you may love this tale. It may move you and resonate with your experiences and grab hold of your heart, offering forgiveness for wrongs you've forgotten. But the only part of me The Crane Wife touched was my head — and not always in a good way.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

    I’ve read almost every Patrick Ness book – in fact, I only need to read More Than This (which I’ve been saving) along with And the Ocean was Our Sky (which is his most recently release) to be up to date with all his books – and I find my feelings range somewhat with his books. Some I love, others I feel rather indifferent towards. With The Crane Wife, we have a book that falls into the latter category. The Crane Wife was an easy read, one I was able to finish in no time at all. It was interesting I’ve read almost every Patrick Ness book – in fact, I only need to read More Than This (which I’ve been saving) along with And the Ocean was Our Sky (which is his most recently release) to be up to date with all his books – and I find my feelings range somewhat with his books. Some I love, others I feel rather indifferent towards. With The Crane Wife, we have a book that falls into the latter category. The Crane Wife was an easy read, one I was able to finish in no time at all. It was interesting, there were certainly a range of things to enjoy, but I couldn’t connect with the story. I think my biggest issue is that I never came to care about any of the characters. I was curious to see how all the different elements came together, but I had no feelings towards the characters at all. In many ways, The Crane Wife left me feeling much like Release. It was a story within a story, with separate elements that came together. They came together in a more interesting manner in The Crane Wife than they did in Release, but I still feel as though I would have enjoyed the separate stories more if they were single short stories. As much as I did enjoy the way things tied together, the way the different elements came together, I cared more about certain parts of the story than others. All in all, The Crane Wife is one of my least favourite books by Patrick Ness. I can see the appeal of The Crane Wife, and there will be many who will enjoy it, but it was not a book that blew my mind.

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