Book Review |The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness
Advance Reader Copy, 310 pages
Publication date:
January 27th 2013
Penguin Press (USA), Harpercollins (Canada)
Received from publisher for book club promotion.


The extraordinary happens every day…

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 by Patrick Ness was one of those books that I didn’t really love but I didn’t hate it either. It was to put it simply an interesting novel and unlike anything that I had expected. For instance I wrongly assumed that the story would only be about George Duncan, the main character and not his daughter, Amanda. Also for some reason I thought Amanda would be younger instead of being a full-fledged adult and single mom. And while I would have preferred the story to be just about George, I did enjoy the interaction between Amanda’s son, JP and his grandfather George. Also I think in the end having the book be about both George and Amanda worked for the story that the authour was trying to tell.

While it starts off slow, the story in The Crane Wife does pick up with the appearance of the mysterious “Kumiko”. Like George I felt like I didn’t really know her, and it bothered me as I was curious as to whom she really was. There were however many “hints” to “Kumiko’s” true identity in what appears to be flashbacks of some sort but is really something more as revealed by the novel’s end.

The prose in The Crane Wife is my favourite thing about this book. It is very lyrical and captures the magic of what is a modern take on an old traditional Japanese folk tale. There were so many breath taking passages throughout the book, in particular the descriptions of George and Kumiko working on their “craft” are really magical as is a certain paragraph that does an excellent job of capturing why many people (myself included) still prefer print books over eBooks.

The Crane Wife seems like it would be great for fans of magic realism in adult fiction, unfortunately I’m not really into that. However it was a very unusual, interesting and magical book which is great for this time of the year.

If you like this book, you’ll love: We Are Water by Wally Lamb

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.


2 thoughts on “Book Review |The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

  1. As someone who IS into magic realism and absolutely loves anything based around traditional folk tales, this is one I will definitely be reading at some point. Thanks for the post! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s