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The Crane Wife

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  6,129 Ratings  ·  1,112 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published April 4th 2013 by Canongate Books
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Emily May
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fairy-tales, 2013

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
B the BookAddict
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Indulge yourself!
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Mish's review
Shelves: fantasy
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.
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, i-own-it
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.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: magical-realism
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.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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
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.
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mish by: Kaylene
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,
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 ...more
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, fantasy
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
Lindsey Lynn
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.
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
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
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 ...more
Amy | shoutame
Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
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
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tales
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
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
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
Suanne Laqueur
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
Erik Fazekas
Toto je najlepšia kniha, akú som tento rok prečítal. A nehovorím to len preto, lebo je to Nessorožec a patrí medzi mojich obľúbených autorov.

Naozaj nie, myslím si, že je to jedna z najprehliadanejších kníh v modernej svetovej beletrii. Keď si prečítate anotáciu, tak si poviete že pfú... komu sa chce čítať o 48 chlapíkovi, ktorému sa rozpadol život.

Ale táto kniha je úplne o niečom inom. Je o vzťahoch... medzi rodičmi a už dospelými deťmi, medzi rozvedenými partnermi, medzi kamarátmi medzi koleg
Stella  Chen
Jul 13, 2012 marked it as maybe-read  ·  review of another edition
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
Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
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
Diana D
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Нес е толкова сладкодумен. Имам чувство, че може да опише вълнуващо и впечатляващо дори банална случка или история.

Книгата ме докосна, не толкова с японската легенда за Жерава, върху която е базирана, отколкото с автентичността на взаимоотношенията между героите. Винаги съм харесвала да чета истории, които тaка силно сътворяват характери и след това ги вкарват във взаимодействие. Освен всичко останало, книгата провокира доста лични размишления в мен.

Джордж спечели симпатиите ми с неговата неприн
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
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 ...more
Ivan Bogdanov
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Вълшебна книга. Влезе ми много навътре. Отдавна не се бях припознавал така в книга.
Но ако не сте романтик, не я четете, ще ви е скучна.
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
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Roberta Jayne
2.5 stars. Having read MOST of Patrick Ness' books at this point in time, I can confidently say that none of them have ever been up to the standard of his Chaos Walking series. Earlier on this year I read The Rest Of Us Just Live Here, which was only slightly better than this book, and have also tried out A Monster Calls and More Than This which were both vaguely disappointing in different ways.

While The Crane Wife was written confidently and had a really light, mystical feel to it, I think that
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)
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways-won
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
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Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Co
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“All stories begin before they start and never, ever finish.” 24 likes
“Yes", Kumiko said, seriously. "Exactly that. The extraordinary happens all the time. So much, we can't take it. Life and happiness and heartache and love. If we couldn't put it in story - "
"And explain it -"
"No!" she said, suddenly sharp. "Not explain. Stories do not explain. They seem to, but all they provide is a starting point. The 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, 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.”
More quotes…