This is quite simply one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. It hits an emotional tone that I can’t quite put my finger on. It is a story told so simply yet reaches every fibre of your being. It is sad yet inspirational, full of hope but also despair, full of the magic of life but also it’s consequences.
The novel is based on an ancient Japanese folktale of the same name. The same folktale also inspired The Decemberists Song(s) of the same name. Both of which inspired the novel.
[The moment I heard this book was inspired by a Decemberists’ song, I had to read it and have been relistening to the song again and again.]
Patrick Ness’s The Crane Wife is more than just a retelling or modern-day interpretation of the folktale. It is an ancient story that is on going. You don’t need to know of the folktale or the song, in fact not knowing is probably better, but you will seek it out when you’re finished, trust me, and Ness’s novel is just as moving and beautiful all on it’s own.
There are elements of magic realism (a term I hate but use anyway) but unlike some stories where you have to suspend belief, Patrick Ness makes you want to believe. And while I felt a profound sadness in the story there is also overwhelming hope because this is a tale about love and loneliness and how you can’t have one without the other. But it is also about the power of stories and art and their everlasting qualities and gifts to others.
I haven’t read Patrick Ness before but everyone I know who has is in awe of him. I’m joining that line now too and will be reading anything and everything I can get my hands on.
Classification: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Format: Paperback (214mm x 135mm x 24mm)
Imprint: Canongate Books Ltd
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publish Date: 4-Apr-2013
Country of Publication: United Kingdom