The Crane Wife

The Crane Wife : A Memoir in Essays

4.29 (62 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

'Outstanding... An elegant masterpiece... Wry but also warm and generous' Roxane Gay

'Frank, funny, enthralling... Think of it as rehab for road-weary romantics, inviting us to redefine what constitutes a love story' Observer

'Warning: you will WhatsApp multiple quotes to your friends from your sun-lounger' Independent

Ten days after calling off her wedding, CJ Hauser went on an expedition to study the whooping crane. After a week wading through the gulf, she realised she had almost signed up to live somebody else's life.

In this intimate, frank and funny memoir in essays, CJ Hauser lets go of 'how life was supposed to be' and goes looking for more honest ways of living. She kisses internet strangers, officiates a wedding, visits a fertility clinic. She reads Rebecca in the house her new boyfriend shared with his ex-wife and rewinds Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story to learn how not to lose yourself in a relationship. She writes about friends and lovers, ghosts and robots, grief and heartbreak, blood family and chosen family, and asks what more expansive definitions of love might offer us all.

The Crane Wife is a book for anyone whose life doesn't look the way they thought it would; for anyone trying, if sometimes failing, to find joy in the unexpected.

'CJ Hauser understands that there are so many different ways to love and live, and her words make all of them exciting possibilities.' Natasha Lunn, bestselling author of CONVERSATIONS ON LOVE

'Universal and exciting... The Crane Wife will satisfy and inspire anyone who has ever asked, 'How did I get here, and what happens now?' New York Times

'Funny, exciting, vulnerable - truly visionary' Alexander Chee

'Intimate, witty and beautifully crafted' Elle

'Intimate, wry, compassionate... a book you want to press into friends' hands' Irish Mail on Sunday
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 31mm | 427g
  • Viking
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241503779
  • 9780241503775
  • 16,803

Review Text

The Crane Wife explores love's many forms with frank, raw honesty, charting an artful path through one woman's experiences. . . Hauser's wry, introspective investigation of her assumptions about love will likely free readers to examine their own personal narratives as well. . . Hauser excavates her past loves and losses, thoughtfully examines them and declares the pain of love to be worth the risk
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Review quote

Outstanding . . . An elegant masterpiece . . . Wry but also warm and generous -- Roxane Gay Brilliant and beautiful . . . An absolute must-read -- Frances Cha, author of IF I HAD YOUR FACE Bold and brilliant and psychologically exquisite, CJ Hauser is a deeply gifted and generous writer. THE CRANE WIFE is enthralling -- Charlotte Fox Weber, author of WHAT WE WANT Sometimes a viral essay is just a viral essay. Other times, as with Hauser's story of breaking off her engagement (written for The Paris Review), a piece that spoke to millions will lead to something bigger - in this case, an absorbing memoir in essays * New York Times Book Review, Editors' Pick * Outstanding... An elegant masterpiece... Wry but also warm and generous -- Roxane Gay I absolutely LOVED these essays. I knew I ought to ration myself to one a day in order to prolong the joy and fascination of them, but I just couldn't: I had to carry on reading and reading, like eating a whole packet of jelly babies in one sitting. What a fantastic, original, funny and touching voice! C J Hauser is a wondrous writer. This book will give so much happiness -- Cressida Connolly, author of AFTER THE PARTY Compassionate and funny and brave. The book is a masterclass in life writing, and a lesson in how to live a life outside the narratives that would contain us. CJ is a master story weaver. I was left wanting more, in the best way possible -- Charlie Gilmour, author of Featherhood Bold and brilliant and psychologically exquisite, CJ Hauser is a deeply gifted and generous writer. THE CRANE WIFE is enthralling. -- Charlotte Fox Weber, author of WHAT WE WANT In The Crane Wife, Hauser undertakes a new way for her to tell stories from her life, playing with history and personal history, exploring the possible hidden truths in her family's past and her own. The result is like interconnected short stories but about her life, the person she is and was, maybe even the person she never knew herself to be. Funny, exciting, vulnerable - truly visionary. -- Alexander Chee, author of QUEEN OF THE NIGHT and HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL The Crane Wife more than delivers on the immense promise of the viral essay that served as its source. My goodness is it funny, but also so devastatingly honest and bracing. Reading it is like taking a long road trip with your wisest, sharpest friend and talking the entire way. -- R. Eric Thomas, bestselling author of Here For It The Crane Wife is brilliant and beautiful - the vulnerability of her viral essay is expanded to include immense humour, pondering and further misadventures of the heart. An absolute must-read. I will be gifting this book all year long -- Frances Cha, internationally bestselling author of IF I HAD YOUR FACE In this perceptive and probing work, Hauser brilliantly parses the myths that shaped her understanding of love. . . Sparkling. . . A thrillingly original deconstruction of desire and its many configurations * Publishers Weekly, starred review * Hauser is a delightful and agile writer, capable of speaking in multiple registers, but what all of her essays have in common is honesty, wisdom, a certain loopiness-she's an old soul with a fresh perspective and an energetic, wandering mind. The result is an imaginative and beautiful memoir, one that'll be passed through the secret sisterhood of crane wives for years. -- Jennifer Senior Readers looking for something a little different in a memoir will not be disappointed. The strongest essays exemplify Hauser's keen awareness about life so far: things don't always work out as planned, love is complicated, and trusting your gut is, sometimes, the best option. * Library Journal * Perceptive and witty * Shelf Awareness * Intimate, witty and beautifully crafted * Elle * "I am a kind of breakup pro," Hauser writes late in this lively, thoughtful, and often funny set of personal essays-at a point when the reader has learned much about how unlucky in love she's been. . . Hauser makes a welcome effort to talk about both love and culture in unconventional ways. . . A smart, inviting, and candid clutch of self-assessments * Kirkus Reviews * A staccato, funny, barbed, metaphor-laced, and thought-provoking memoir-in-essays. . . No matter her focus, Hauser's deductions about human nature are always arresting, delving, fresh, and exhilarating * Booklist * While it's always difficult to summarize an essay collection, what holds The Crane Wife together is Hauser's unpacking of emotional truths: who do we love, and why, and what happens when they're gone? When we're alone? When we forget what it was like to love them? * LitHub * Smart, poignant stories...all threaded with snort-out-loud wisdom * Grazia * If you ever ask yourself why you fell for, left, stayed too long, chose badly, questioned your instinct, then this blazingly clever memoir will be a revelation...this is a near-genius look at the search for love * Sainsbury's Magazine * After reading this forthcoming memoir-in-essays by the warm, wise, wry, and wonderful CJ Hauser, you'll have to go fix your face. Were you crying laughing or just crying? Both? Splash some cold water on your cheeks. That's it. Now, go forth in peace with a new understanding of what it means to live and love * Garden & Gun * Hauser considers love in all its forms and how it shows up in families - both biological and logical - friendship, queerness and in fleeting moments between strangers. The Crane Wife will make you think, laugh, cry and keep turning the pages * Red * Unsparingly honest * Woman & Home * A frank exploration of intimacy and romance that doesn't always lead to a 'happily ever after'. . . Hauser is a playful, energetic and always likeable writer. . . I kept thinking about all of the people in my life into whose hands I can't wait to put The Crane Wife. * Washington Post * The Crane Wife explores love's many forms with frank, raw honesty, charting an artful path through one woman's experiences. . . Hauser's wry, introspective investigation of her assumptions about love will likely free readers to examine their own personal narratives as well. . . Hauser excavates her past loves and losses, thoughtfully examines them and declares the pain of love to be worth the risk * BookPage * The Crane Wife is brilliantly idiosyncratic. It's funny, beautiful and strange, full of seemingly random collections of cultural references and stories from Hauser's past - things that seem like they won't make sense together, until they do. The collection, written in Hauser's very immediate voice, traverses broad subject matter, including family, breakups, fertility and home ownership. * Independent * The Crane Wife is both universal and exciting. Hauser builds her life's inventory out of deconstructed personal narratives, resulting in a reading experience that's rich like a complicated dessert - not for wolfing down but for savouring in small bites. . . A delightfully wide assortment of literary and cultural digressions enrich Hauser's musings, making her book a lot of fun in a brainy, melancholic way. . . An intellectually vigorous and emotionally resonant account of how a self gets created over time, The Crane Wife will satisfy and inspire anyone who has ever asked, 'How did I get here, and what happens now?' * New York Times Book Review * CJ Hauser understands that there are so many different ways to love and live, and her words make all of them exciting possibilities -- Natasha Lunn, bestselling author of CONVERSATIONS ON LOVE Frank, funny, enthralling... Think of it as rehab for road-weary romantics, inviting us to redefine what constitutes a love story * Observer * Hauser takes the reader along on a soulful journey of self-discovery as she brings together smart, astute observations on modern love and life. . . The essays in this volume offer a fascinating blend of relationships and breakups, colorful family stories, and cultural and literary influences. In fluid prose, she pursues more fulfilling ways to find happiness. . . What a pleasure it is be in the company of this writer. With clear eyes and an open heart, she finds her way and discovers that unmasking mistakes and vulnerabilities is one way of being strong * Minneapolis Star Tribune * Brimming with insight and compassion, this is ideal for anyone looking to embrace the unexpected * Woman's Own * Intimate, wry, compassionate, filled with imaginative connections drawn between art and life. Reading it feels like talking to an unusually articulate and well-read friend... Hauser has a gift for spinning stories from her life and unpretentiously interpreting them through the prism of art. She has written a book that proves her viral success was no flash in the pan, a book you want to press into friends' hands. Invigorating, vulnerable, generous, it is a liberation * Irish Mail on Sunday * Wise, funny and oh so true about dating * The i *
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About Christina Joyce Hauser

CJ HAUSER teaches creative writing at Colgate University and lives in Hamilton, NY. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College and PhD from Florida State. She has published two novels, Family of Origin and The From-Aways. In 2019 she published a viral essay, The Crane Wife, in the Paris Review, about her decision to call off her wedding and go on an expedition to study the whooping crane. The essay reached over a million readers, was shared by 538 journalists from 293 different outlets all over the world, and recommended online by the likes of Roxane Gay, Busy Phillips and Caitlin Moran. The Crane Wife: A Memoir in Essays is her first work of full-length non-fiction.
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Rating details

62 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
5 58% (36)
4 19% (12)
3 18% (11)
2 3% (2)
1 2% (1)
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