The Crane Wife

The Crane Wife

Book - 2014
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"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"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: Amherst, NY : Penguin Press, 2014
ISBN: 9781594205477
Branch Call Number: FIC Ness
Characteristics: 310 p


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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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