The Crane Wife (Paperback)
February 2014 Indie Next List
“Based on a Japanese folk tale, The Crane Wife spins a story about two artists -- one of whom may not be fully human -- and how they achieve the act of creation and destruction, both in their art and in their personal lives and relationships. The characters are fully drawn, each with faults but very lovable in their own ways, and the act of creation is beautifully explored through children, art, and budding relationships, as well as through myths of earth-creation. This is my favorite read of the year -- and it's been a good year for fiction!”
— William D Carl, Books On The Square, Providence, RI
The Crane Wife is a wonderful tale about love. Not syrupy, sappy love but rather the myriad of necessary bonds people create and destroy with one another. George is the father of Amanda, grand pere of JP, ex-husband of Clare, and fiance of Kumiko. Ness wraps these relationships in a wonderful folk tale about the destructive and creative powers of a Volcano and it’s need to be forgiven by the Crane Wife who in turn is bound by the forces of the Volcano. Five stars for sure! - randy— From What the What?!
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.
“When George and his daughter, with their seemingly ordinary quirks and heartbreaks, are befriended by an enigmatic woman, art, beauty, and myth become living forces in their lives. This poignant novel echoes with the longings and sorrows of the ages. But what came as a most delightful surprise is the humor and humanity that Patrick Ness brings to this story.”
—Eowyn Ivey, New York Times bestselling author of The Snow Child
"Patrick Ness is on top form here . . . The Crane Wife is a tale full of bittersweet wonder with a very human soul. A treat."
—Matt Haig, author of The Radleys
“This is a novel that treads with feather-deft steps through ordinary lives touched by magic, then takes flight on wing beats of powerful storytelling.”—Ali Shaw, author of The Girl with Glass Feet
“What’s striking is the beauty and humanity of Ness’s writing.”
—Ben East, The Observer
"The Crane Wife is a special novel: a perfect fusion of surreal imagery and beautifully crafted internal logic."
—Helen Brown, The Telegraph
Enthralling and delightful . . . The dialogue is natural and inspired, and sparkles with latent tension.”
—Leyla Sanai, The Independent
“A fusion of mid-life crisis comedy and classic storytelling.”
—Kate Saunders, The Times
“Ness is a highly accomplished storyteller and the gravitational pull of the earthbound strand of his tale is strong enough to stop it from floating off into whimsy. He also has a rare ability to cut poignancy with humour. . . .the mood he creates is unsettling and potent.”
—Michael Prodger, Financial Times
“The story is lively and often quite funny.”
—Ursula Le Guin, The Guardian
“The Crane Wife is a magical and beautiful book – spellbinding from start to finish.”
—Herald on Sunday (New Zealand)