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Monday 3 June 2013

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness [Review]

Written by: Patrick Ness.
Published by: Cannongate.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 4th April 2013.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "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 George's shop. Suddenly a new world opens up for George, and one night she starts to tell him the most extraordinary story.
Wise, romantic, magical and funny, The Crane Wife is a hymn to the creative imagination and a celebration of the disruptive and redemptive power of love."


The Crane Wife is not normally the sort of book I would read, let alone review here on the blog. For it is an adult book, and completely different from anything else I have read in a long time. But it is written by Patrick Ness. And I loved A Monster Calls - I thought it was beautiful, and thus want to read everything Ness does... although I have not yet gotten around to Choas Walking... All in good time...

So anyway, I was excited by the premise of The Crane Wife. It sounded like a good story and I love the cover so much I was sold and ordered a copy before publication. And when it came in the post, boy was I excited. I read the book rather slowly, partly due to work and personal commitments but putting the book down every time was a massive struggle. I am glad I read it slowly because, as expected, this is an incredible piece of work. It's lyrical and so well thought out, the prose so fluid and engaging - sometimes I'd even say it was too fluid. I was being carried along and at points I'll be honest, I did find myself becoming a little lost in the plot. Based on an old Japanese tale, the book kind of splits into two - telling the tale of George, his daughter Amanda and this new mysterious woman who Geroge falls for, Kumiko. The other half however is an episodic look at the tale of a krane and a volcano who are both in love with other but also hate each other in equal measure, for one creates and the other destroys.

Overall it is a very well written book that I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend. I'm very much looking forward now to reading the Chaos Walking books and Patrick's next YA book, More Than This which is due this September and sounds great!


  1. Hi Ryan,
    A friend recommended me to read The Monsters Call, but I think I forgot already. This review reminds me back. Thanks! Nice review. =)

  2. Patrick Ness has made the step from children's/ youth writer fluently with this gripping book. Right from the first moment we are alerted, like the main character, to the sound in the back garden, we are captured.... A wonderful novel that is highly recommended.

    Irene Jennings (Transportation Management Software)