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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 46/100: The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

The Crane Wife - Patrick Ness

Around the Year Reading Challenge Item #30: A Fairy Tale From a Culture Other Than Your Own

3.5 stars

I had high expectations for this book, as I've really loved Ness's Chaos Walking series and trust him as a writer to convey the authentic human experience. The fact that this is a modern retelling of a Japanese fairy tale made it even more appealing to me, although I probably would have been open to any subject matter. But his voice does not come across as effortlessly or as authentically in this adult novel as in his YA stuff. The experimental format, transitioning between "all dialog" chapters, an original myth, and more traditional exposition at times feels as though it is "trying too hard." And the characters come across as just shy of fully realized.

Yet, despite this, the book mostly held my interest -- although I did feel that it sagged a little in the middle. However, I liked the magical realism, especially the moments occurring in the "real world" that were tinged with the impossible. I liked the use of metaphor and the themes of love, possession, and creation, and how certain people or experiences leave you changed forever. I found the ending to be satisfying, which is what kept this book from falling squarely in "three-star" territory, but it's not among Ness's best.