The Crane Wife The Crane Wife question


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Underlying themes
Paulina Paulina Apr 23, 2015 07:53AM
This is one of the best books I have read recently. I wasn't familiar with the folk tale so that my have impacted my reaction.

This book works on multiple levels. The writing is wonderful and pulls you in quickly. The characters are interesting. But it also works at a deeper level. The surface of the folk tale talks about how obsession drives away love.

But there is another thread that runs through this book that intrigues me - and I wonder if it is also part of the folklore tale or if the author has introduced it. The concept of eternal life, forgiveness, and desire are wrapped up in the book, too.

In the myth, forgiveness is always accompanied by death which is welcomedf by the person dieing. Not a western concept, that :-)

Is this tied up with endless reincarnation on the wheel of life and enlightenment providing release ? I don't know enough about Buddhism to know if this fits but it has that flavor. Is that intentional ??

In any case, the concepts in this book have stayed with me.

"We are all the lady. We are all the volcano"



deleted member (last edited May 24, 2015 06:57PM ) May 18, 2015 12:09PM   0 votes
Paulina, I've been watching your post for a long time to see what people said.

I loved this book, and it hid from me, I could feel it, as Kumiko hid her reality from George. I don't mind when things hide from me, it gives them a dreamlike quality, and I believe the author must have been trying to achieve that. Certainly in the last scenes.

I think, I'm not sure, but I think the concept, the god/goddess in the inanimate objects and animals, is Shinto rather than Buddhist. And I'm not sure there is enlightenment, since she leaves when recognized? I don't know. Shinto is very elusive, and is one of those belief systems that changed readily and willingly, apparently, as different cultures and ideas came to Japan, but the volcano figures in its creation mythology. (I knew something about Shintoism and animism in general, but most of this, lest you think I knew it all, is from Wiki.)

Edit (added this paragraph): Reread this. Currently rereading The Golden Notebook, nearly finished, very sensitive to feminist issues, the sensitivity rests on me like a sunburn. But a question arises in regard to the volcano. Why are so many creation/deity mythologies so destructive (successfully and unsuccessfully both) or dangerous to the feminine presence? There's the Crane, there's Eve, there are all the women taken by Zeus in one form or another, virgins thrown to volcanos, tra la, tra la. No answers, except the obvious. Just more questions. (return to original post)

I found the book beautiful, but fragile, like an origami crane. I think it is an experience, and very personal, it is able to contain what one projects into it, and like so many works of art with that quality (room for the reader, I call it), lots of people won't like it. Especially if they want to be spoon-fed a story and a beginning, middle, and ending, and no unanswered questions when they've finished. It didn't get great reviews, which I didn't read until after I'd read the book (not big on reviews any longer).

A beautiful book. I think, like Kumiko, it renders up what the reader is willing to receive.

deleted user Paulina, I just came across a story about a couple and their art that made me think outside of "the box." One of the mysteries of The Crane Wife, to m ...more
Jul 09, 2015 03:45AM · flag
F 25x33
Paulina How very interesting. Perhaps it is the juxtaposition of unexpected an unusual elements that makes the art compelling. I know that I (usually) enjoy a ...more
Jul 20, 2015 06:02PM · flag

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