Find this review and much more at Read, Run, Ramble
Thank you Penguin Group (USA) Inc. via Edelweiss for providing me with an early copy of this book!
The Crane Wife is based on Japanese folklore – mysticism and fantasy are abundant. For readers who are over thinkers this can be a problem because I found myself (oh, did I just admit to being an over thinker??) constantly looking for themes, connections, and answers, which led me to continuously wonder if I was “missing” the point. To be clear this is my issue as the reader, not the author’s.
George is in his late forties, divorced, and lonelier than even he realizes. The story begins with George finding a large, injured crane in his back yard. Feeling suddenly and overwhelmingly compassionate for the bird, he works to save its life. In doing so, readers quickly learn much about George, his loneliness, and how he’s come to view himself. Ness brings him to life vividly with rich words and subtle detail. After saving the crane’s life, George’s own life takes a dramatic turn when he meets Kumiko. Other central characters circle George’s and Kumiko’s story gradually becoming intertwined and involved. Ness impressively introduces you to his characters and develops them in a way that even the supporting characters come full circle – readers will really know them.
Through the characters and on the back drop of old, Japanese folklore Ness takes readers on a mystical journey of love, forgiveness, understanding, and self-discovery.
I sat down and read through this tale in one sitting (only getting up when absolutely necessary). This speaks to the novel’s impressiveness in my opinion. It kept pulling me along. That’s another aspect to the over thinker’s reading of this novel – one must have all the answers (aka I had to finish this one and know how it ended).
Ness is a brilliant writer, his prose is very melodic to me in this novel. I’m not sure how else to describe it – it flowed, it brought me along with it, it was like listening to music. Sometimes when listening to music, though you love the tune and the beat, you miss a lyric or two, but you keep listening and following along because you know the meaning is all the same in the end. Sometimes, as mentioned above, I did feel like maybe I was missing a bigger meaning or a passage might be lost on me, but it never felt overwhelming or like I was losing the story – it was still there waiting for me to finish. That probably doesn't make sense to anyone except me, but read the book and it may make a little more sense!
This is a novel that I think lends itself to re-reading. I’m fairly certain that there will be many things to discover or re-discover by going through Ness’s intriguing story again.
I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.