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Patrick Ness

The Crane Wife

Patrick Ness The Crane Wife
$11.20 New
 
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Biographical note:

Born in Virginia and raised in Hawaii and the state of Washington, Patrick Ness is the author of seven novels and a short story collection.  He has won the Carnegie Medal twice, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Costa Children's Book Award.  In 2012 his bestselling novel A Monster Calls became the first ever to win both the Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medals.  His books are published in over twenty languages.  He lives in London.

Excerpt from book:

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***

Copyright © 2013  by Patrick Ness

 

 

And all the stars were crashing round

As I laid eyes on what I’d found.

The Decemberists

 

In her dreams, she flies.

 

I.

What actually woke him was the unearthly sound itself – a mournful shatter of frozen midnight falling to earth to pierce his heart and lodge there forever, never to move, never to melt – but he, being who he was, assumed it was his bladder.

He huddled under the covers, sending out mental feelers to see how urgent the call was. Urgent enough. He sighed. Forty-eight still seemed too young to be having to get up in the night so often to relieve what was patently an old man’s need, but there would clearly be no getting back to sleep until the matter was addressed. Maybe if he was quick about it he wouldn’t even really need to wake all the way up. Yes. All right, then. Here we go. Upright, down the hall.

He gasped as he stepped onto the bathroom floor, cruelly cold against his bare feet. The room had no radiator, just a mysterious flat pad-type thing on the wall – he could never describe it adequately to other people – that, when turned on, grew too hot to touch while also managing to not even vaguely warm the surrounding air. He’d been meaning to remedy the problem since he’d moved here after the divorce, but a ninth year had just passed, a tenth begun, and here he was, still freezing his toes and the surprisingly soft skin of his arches as he stood, naked, at the toilet.

‘Cold,’ he murmured, using the glow of moonlight through the window to more-or-less aim into the bowl, guiding the rest by sound once he’d got a stream started.

The winter had been strange and contradictory, as if it were battling with itself. Mild days, even sometimes gloriously sunny, but nights that were particularly bitter, the damp of the house making them seem even more so. A huge city allegedly thrummed and dazzled just metres from the man’s doorstep, yet inside might as well have been draped in the chill fog of a hundred years past. At her last visit, his daughter Amanda had stopped halfway through taking off her coat and asked if he was expecting a plague cart.

He finished urinating,

A magical novel, based on a Japanese folk tale, that imagines how the life of a broken-hearted man is transformed when he rescues an injured white crane that has landed in his backyard.

George Duncan is an American living and working in London.  At forty-eight, he owns a small print shop, is divorced, and lonelier than he realizes.  All of the women with whom he has relationships eventually leave him for being too nice.  But one night he is woken by an astonishing sound—a terrific keening, which is coming from somewhere in his garden.  When he investigates he finds a great white crane, a bird taller than even himself.  It has been shot through the wing with an arrow.  Moved more than he can say, George struggles to take out the arrow from the bird's wing, saving its life before it flies away into the night sky.

The next morning, a shaken George tries to go about his daily life, retreating to the back of his store and making cuttings from discarded books—a harmless, personal hobby—when through the front door of the shop a woman walks in.  Her name is Kumiko, and she asks George to help her with her own artwork.  George is dumbstruck by her beauty and her enigmatic nature, and begins to fall desperately in love with her.   She seems to hold the potential to change his entire life, if he could only get her to reveal the secret of who she is and why she has brought her artwork to him.

Witty, magical, and romantic, The Crane Wife is a story of passion and sacrifice, that resonates on the level of dream and myth.  It is a novel that celebrates the creative imagination, and the disruptive power of love.


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