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The Crane Wife

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  7,377 ratings  ·  1,289 reviews

One night, George Duncan 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 away, his life is transformed. The next day, a beautiful woman called Kumiko walks into his shop and begins to
Paperback, 305 pages
Published February 6th 2014 by Canongate (first published April 4th 2013)
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Elizabeth Crooks Yes, it is inspired by the Japanese folk tale as well as The Decemberists' use of the folktale in their music. …moreYes, it is inspired by the Japanese folk tale as well as The Decemberists' use of the folktale in their music. (less)

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Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,377 ratings  ·  1,289 reviews

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Emily May
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, fairy-tales

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 folkta
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: owned
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. ...more
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to fully describe this story, except to say I had finish it for the ending. It's atypical. 6 of 10 stars ...more
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.
Connie G
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
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,
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, arc
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 (thepagemistress)
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. ...more
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Amy | littledevonnook
Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Brigid ✩
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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)
Kaethe Douglas
The first fifty or so pages I was thinking "It's beautifully written. I usually hate that." And I thought about putting it down. I think it was the description of the art which really convinced me to keep going. After a while I began to appreciate the purely mundane bumping up against the magical In the end I really enjoyed it a great deal. Far too much to use words like "luminous" or "lyrical"; it's earthier than that.

Library copy
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, read-2016

Full review to come
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2013
I love storytelling more than I can say, especially the old stories: myths, fairy tales, folklore. Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy was so brilliantly crafted and moving that I wanted — expected — to love this reworking of a melancholy Japanese folktale just as much. But it fell flat for me from the clumsy opening line:

What actually woke him was the unearthly sound itself — a mournful shatter of frozen midnight falling to earth to pierce his heart and lodge there forever, never to move, n
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read almost every Patrick Ness book – in fact, I only need to read More Than This (which I’ve been saving) along with And the Ocean was Our Sky (which is his most recently release) to be up to date with all his books – and I find my feelings range somewhat with his books. Some I love, others I feel rather indifferent towards. With The Crane Wife, we have a book that falls into the latter category.

The Crane Wife was an easy read, one I was able to finish in no time at all. It was interesting
Suad Shamma
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, own
Patrick Ness is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I love his style, his ideas, his concepts, and mostly - his execution. He is a brilliantly skilled writer and a genius at breathing life into stories.

I found myself thoroughly enjoying this book, despite the strangeness of it. I did not realize it was based on a Japanese folk tale about the crane, until after I've finished reading it. So really, I was just reading this odd story, and going with the flow and liking it immensely.

So thi
Roberta Jayne
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
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
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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 C

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