November 15, 2013

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

Apparently Patrick Ness is a pretty popular author. I had no idea who he was until I picked up this book. The Crane Wife is based on a Japanese Folklore story and has quite a bit of imagery.

George is a nice guy. Really nice. So much so that he can't sustain a relationship because women don't want to become a bully towards him. So he runs his print shop and is there for his daughter and grandson. Until the day a crane, hurt by an arrow, flies into his yard and he helps it. After it flies away, he has no idea what is to come. One day, a woman named Kumiko stops in his shop and together they learn that when they combine their arts (her feather tiles and his paper cuttings) they make something beautiful. And there is something in Kumiko he yearns for, although she remains mysterious to everyone.

Kumiko is mysterious. You get a little bit of dialogue from her, but not much, and she remains as mysterious to the reader as she does to the other characters in the book. Of course the whole time you know who she is so that makes you look at her in a different light as well. George I liked. I'm not sure what's wrong with the women in this book not wanting such a nice guy. I would think that would be every woman's dream to find. He has a very gentle way about him. I still can't figure out why the daughter played such a huge role in this book. She kind of distracted from George and Kumiko's story I thought. She's a well written character, but I wanted more of the focus on George and Kumiko.

I've never read the original story so I'm blindly putting faith in the fact that this book is pretty true to it. At least in the parts that's actually telling the myth rather than the story about George and Kumiko. And I loved the writing style of Ness. Almost poetry at times and he has an interesting way of looking at the world. Even the words the child said were slightly profound. But when I got to the end, not the "end" end, but the last couple of pages, I couldn't stand how he decided to use George's character. It almost ruined the book for me as I felt it kind of cheapened everything else. I'm sure it's just a matter of personal preference but without spoiling it for everyone, I can't really describe it here. Most will probably like the ending far better than I did.

It's still a well written book and definitely worth reading. My biggest take away is that I'd love to see some of the art in the book actually reproduced in real life.

**This book is part of the Amazon Vine program**

The Crane Wife
Copyright 2013
310 pages

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