Cover Image: The Crane Husband

The Crane Husband

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My actual rating of this book is 3.5 stars. A lush, dark, lyrical little tale sprinkled with feathers and blood, this was a perfectly concise retelling.

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I am a big fan of Kelly Barnhill's work. Her writing here is simple, yet lyrical. This twist on the Japanese tale "The Crane Wife" is hauntingly beautiful and achingly sad. It echoes the loneliness and desperation of the original tale, but that is where the similarities end. Told from the perspective of the 15 year old girl struggling to keep her family together for years, the arrival of a man sized crane in her mother's life reveals how much can be lost when an abusive relationship takes hold. So much is packed into this brief story and Barnhill does an amazing job of mixing the supernatural with the mundane.

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Lush and gruesome, The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill is a dark fairy tale retold through the lens of magical realism. The prose is tight, almost claustrophobically so, contributing to the story's sense of being trapped in your circumstances, unable to break free. It follows a girl who is fiercely protective of her family and taking on household responsibilities too advanced for her age to try to take care of them. She watches the balance and stability that they have eked out corrode when her mother brings an abusive crane into their home and into her bed. For me the setting, the town and the failing farm, where what really made this story shine.

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Thank you to tordotcom for an advanced reader's copy of this book!

Adult fairytales are very much my jam, so when I heard about The Crane Husband I ran right over to NetGalley to see if it was available, and was very excited when I was approved for it.

Kelly Barnhill's writing is excellent. I found myself fully immersed in the world she created. The story was evocative, and I felt like I was in the main character's head. I felt for her and her situation. Any writing that can make me feel so deeply inside a story is 5 stars for me.

I'm not familiar with the Crane Wife story, and I feel like maybe being more familiar with that would have helped me with interpretation and understanding of the story. Nevertheless The Crane Husband stands alone well enough from the original tale and is the perfect novella to read on a early fall evening.

I absolutely loved this, and will most likely be thinking about it for a while.

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The story, based on an old Japanese folktale, is told from the perspective of a fifteen-year-old girl who has been responsible for the household, including the parenting of her younger brother, since the death of her father. When her mother brings home a six-foot, menacing crane, what little stability existed in their home life vanishes and the teenager is forced to address abuse, neglect, and an uncertain future.

Magical realism is one of my favorite genres and this author is particularly skillful in blending highly imaginative imagery with "real life," believable characters. Having enjoyed reading “When Women Were Dragons,” I looked forward to reading this novella. I was not disappointed. Kelly Barnhill’s evocative prose is as rich and complex as the tapestries woven by the talented mother/artist portrayed in the book.

My thanks to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the privilege of reviewing this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This review is being posted immediately to my GoodReads account and will be posted on Amazon upon publication.

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I requested this one because it might be an upcoming title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book does not suit my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one.

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THE CRANE HUSBAND was a book that captivated me from beginning to end. The writing was beautiful yet clean, the concept was eerie, and the intrigue was consistent throughout the book. I have never read the original folktale, so I can’t say what kind of retelling this is, but it was definitely an enjoyable read.

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Beautiful, amazing and so dang engaging!
Barnhill brings us another stunning novel.
The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill is a powerful story of love, sacrifice, and family.
A brilliant, whimsy, yet a simply wonderful read. It was one of those stories I couldn't put away.
This authors writing is fantastic and so compelling. I was hooked once I started.
This is a wonderful tale featuring appealing characters and filled with such beautiful prose.
If you enjoyed When Women Were Dragons you are bound to love her newest novel!

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my blog, platforms, BookBub, B&N, Kobo and Waterstone closer to pub date.

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I read this talented Author's, "The Ogress and the Orphans," twice in a row, because I loved it so much. I loved it for its message of goodness triumphing over the mean Mayor. I loved that the orphans knew kindness was more important than greed. It had some political undertones that we all can relate too. The Ogress did good deeds for the sake of expecting nothing in return, but a willingness to help. It ultimately set an example for both children and adults alike, what it takes to be a good neighbor to those less fortunate. I am going to read "The Girl Who Drank the Moon," next to be able to hopefully put this story into a more meaningful context.

I love adult fairy tales. So you can imagine how excited I was to receive an early Advanced Readers Copy of Kelly Barnhill's new story.

What I could glean from this adult fable was a fifteen year old teenager's fierce love and protective, innate nature to care for her much younger brother. Also, that education is important and the mother's desire to create art with her tapestries that she weaved supported this three member family. How important it is to appreciate art. The consequences for children to be taken away and put in Foster care, when they witness domestic abuse perpetrated by the mother's neglect and allowing men who were strangers to harm her. A young teen who has to grow up to fast and make sure that the bills got paid and that there was food to eat. That farming is hard. That technology is taking over.

My interpretations are just my humble opinion and could be wrong. I was enchanted by Kelly Barnhill's symbolism and spare evocative language. Her economy of prose transfixed me and bewitched me to keep reading. This novella read very quickly and I enjoyed it very much! This wasn't quite what I was expecting and other reviewers have said that this is a retelling of a Japanese fairy tale. I searched for it, but not much in the way of a synopsis for me to draw comparisons that are available, at this time. I would recommend this for adult audiences, unlike her two beautiful works above that I listed, which I believe to be suitable for a younger audience and adults. I love this novella's book cover, and it is my hope that it is published with the finished product.

Publication Date: February 28, 2023

Thank you to Net Galley, Kelly Barnhill and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#TheCraneHusband #KellyBarnhill #MacmillanTorForge #netGalley

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In typical writing from Barnhill, this story is beautifully told. A gritty, modern retelling of fairytale with a strong willed and smart protagonist.

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Kelly Barnhill has a beautiful writing style and this book was really well done. I was so invested in what was going on and loved getting to know this family. I had enjoyed Kelly Barnhill's previous book When Women Were Dragons so I knew I was in for a good read. The writing was what I wanted and was glad I was able to go through this book.

"“Oh,” I said, still not looking up, trying to force away the creeping blush in my neck and cheeks. “That’s, um, pretty cool. I . . . don’t think I knew he made a newsletter.” I swallowed. “Good old Bruce,” I added weakly."

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Well I was so thrilled to be able to read this ARC! Having absolutely loved When Women Were Dragons, I already knew I adored this author. This story is so strange, beautiful and kind of sad. It’s hard to really explain how different it is because there are layers and hidden meanings. This young girl has so much responsibility and sees things that are just plain remarkable. I love adult fairy tales!

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reading this book is like driving past a car crash, i couldn’t take my eyes off. a beautifully surreal and hauntingly eerie story. could’ve worked better as a novella but still a decent read.

many thanks to netgalley and the publishers for supplying me with an ARC in exchange for my review.

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Kelly Barnhill has a way of writing magical stories that still feel grounded in the real world even with their fantastical elements. She does it again with this story that draws from the Japanese tale, the Grateful Crane.

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This is not the kind of book I usually read (literary with magical realism). Having said that I’m really glad I read it. It was easy to follow and for such a small book it manages to have a lot to say.

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