The Crane Wife

Patrick Ness. Penguin Press, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59-420-547-7
Award-winning YA author Ness’s newest novel for adults, following the collection Topics About Which I Know Nothing, is inspired by a traditional Japanese folktale. Kind to the point of haplessness, George Duncan rescues a wounded crane in his suburban London backyard. Soon after, a mysterious woman named Kumiko enters his life, and she and George form an instant connection. Central to their romance is the art they create together: small three-dimensional sculptures pairing George’s book cuttings with Kumiko’s feather art, whose effect is so powerful that viewers are rendered speechless. Following the folktale, George becomes increasingly curious about Kumiko, despite her requests that he respect her privacy. A more grounded and accessibly touching storyline involves George’s daughter, Amanda, who is as abrasive as George is agreeable. 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: the way truth and story are altered by time and teller, the value and danger of forgiveness and anger, and the interplay between loss and love. Despite its imperfections, the book will win over adventurous readers with its originality and intensity. Agent: Michelle Kass, Michelle Kass Associates. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/11/2013
Release date: 01/23/2014
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-85786-873-2
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4434-2012-9
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-85786-872-5
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4434-2014-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-312617-1
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