The Crane Wife

The Crane Wife

A Novel

Book - 2014
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The extraordinary happens every day . . .

George Duncan is an American living and working in London. He is divorced, the owner of a small print shop, and lonelier than he realizes. One night he is woken by an extraordinary sound coming from his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by a giant arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George pulls out the arrow and frees the crane, and from the moment he watches it fly off, his life is transformed. Before he knows it, he meets and falls in love with the enigmatic Kumiko, an artist who changes the lives of everyone around her, including Amanda, George’s angry—and very funny—daughter, her adorable French son and George himself.

Wise, romantic, sublime and laugh-out-loud funny, The Crane Wife is hugely entertaining, but it also resonates on a deep, dreamlike, mythic level. Above all, it is a celebration of the disruptive and redemptive power of love.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Canada, 2014
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781443420129
Branch Call Number: FIC Ness
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 23 cm


From the critics

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Mar 27, 2019

A Japanese folktale tells the story of an injured crane, rescued by an older couple. The crane takes human form and improves the lives of the couple. When its identity is discovered, it must leave. Ness retells this folktale, setting it in contemporary London. A mild, kind middle-aged man rescues a crane, shot through its wing by an arrow and shortly after meets a Japanese artist with whom he makes tiles made from feathers and cutouts. They fall in love. While this is an interesting idea, it does not succeed. There are too many problems with the novel - uneven character development, a mishmash of styles and empty dialogue.

mvkramer Jun 01, 2015

Patrick Ness wrote one of my favorite series of all time - Chaos Walking. That series is taut, it's compelling, the characters are amazing, the love story is inspiring. This bored me so much I gave up after less than a chapter. I much prefer the Decemberists album of the same name.

rowanquincy Oct 11, 2014

It took awhile to get into this book, but once I did I found it an intriguing and unusual story.

ChristineT_RPL Aug 28, 2014

The Crane Wife is not a re-telling of the Japanese folk tale in the usual sense but Ness’s unique and powerful novel makes me want to read folk tales again.
I loved this book for many reasons: the lyrical, poetic writing, the fully dimensional characters and the meditation on love and truth. But I also loved the book for the funny bits that root the book in the reality of life here and now as well as for the description of the art work that the two main characters are creating throughout the book. There were times that I put down the book and just lingered in the created by the author and other times when I reread a passage over and over.
This dedication by the Decemberists also drew me in:
“And all the starts were crashing round
As I laid eyes on what I’d found.”

comment from Lee Anne Smith

kellnerm Jun 14, 2014

Susie B

KCLSLibrarians Mar 03, 2014

Author Patrick Ness delivers a beautifully written and lyrical retelling of a traditional Japanese folktale. The story opens with George Duncan, a broken hearted London print shop owner rescuing a stranded crane from his yard. Days later the mysterious Kumiko enters his life. There is a magical quality to the writing, Ness weaves the extraordinary into the ordinary – what is real? What is possible? In the end all that matters is the experience and the love George and Kumiko find together. A timeless tale of love and loss that will keep you reading and weeping to the end.

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