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The Crane Husband (2023)

de Kelly Barnhill

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25711105,865 (3.99)13
A fifteen-year-old teenager is the backbone of her small Midwestern family, budgeting the household finances and raising her younger brother while her mom, a talented artist, weaves beautiful tapestries. For six years, it's been just the three of them - her mom has brought home guests at times, but none have ever stayed. Yet when her mom brings home a six-foot tall crane with a menacing air, the girl is powerless to prevent her mom letting the intruder into her heart, and her children's lives. Utterly enchanted and numb to his sharp edges, her mom abandons the world around her to weave the masterpiece the crane demands. In this stunning contemporary retelling of The Crane Wife by the Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, one fiercely pragmatic teen forced to grow up faster than was fair will do whatever it takes to protect her family - and change the story.… (mais)
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I enjoyed--although that is too light a term--this when I read it, but it has also stuck with me. I appreciated the minimalist approach here, which befits a contemporary revision of a traditional (there are actually several versions) fairy tale. Barnhill really understands how fairy tales work and has resisted the temptation of many of her contemporaries to over-elaborate on them in their own retellings. The narrative feels claustrophobic, but at the same time leaves a lot of gaps and spaces for us to think our way into the story and its implications. Traditional fairy tales are often more deeply ambiguous than many believe, particularly if we are familiar only with the sanitized versions of the much darker originals collected by the Grimms, etc. In this case much of the ambiguity comes from a single question: why is such an old, familiar story--a woman whom submits to abuse and abandons herself and those around her--one that too many people inhabit anew, and as if for the first time, everyday? Her teenage protagonist provides one set of answers: we inhabit a world where people see and don't see what is right in front of them.

Much of the attention this book has garnered--and you can see it in many of the other reviews here so far on LT--focuses on gender issue. However Barnhill's interest in the gender dynamics is wrapped up in a broader examination of cultural shifts in technology, farming, commerce, and the art market. Many of those elements nag at the edges of consciousness while reading the book (the creepy agribusiness next door, the fawning online collectors for the mother's art); this is, fundamentally, a smart story about how private abuse is fostered by a broader culture that turns a blind eye to all kinds of abuse. ( )
  BornAnalog | May 14, 2024 |
I read this novella as part of the Nebula finalist packet. The Crane Husband is a disturbing, gothic-tinged meditation on how women succumb to abuse. Though mythology forms a major undercurrent, it feels incredibly contemporary and relevant (which is a tragedy unto itself). ( )
  ladycato | Apr 8, 2024 |
Dit boek ben ik begonnen te lezen omdat ik erg heb genoten van When Women Were Dragons van dezelfde schrijfster. Eigenlijk is dit een zelfde soort verhaal als in dat boek. De mensen kunnen van vorm veranderen. Het wordt verteld door een naamloos meisje van 15 jaar. Zij wonen in een boerderij waarvan al het land is verkocht aan een grote firma die alleen maar graan verbouwen. Haar familie bestaat uit vader, moeder het meisje en haar 6 jarige broertje Michael. De moeder is een kunstenares die bekend staat om haar prachtig geweven wandtapijten. De vader wordt ziek en overlijdt als Michael nog een baby is. Aangezien de moeder geld moet verdienen door de verkoop van de wandtapijten, doet het meisje het grootste gedeelte van het huishouden. Als de moeder op een bepaald moment binnen komt lopen met een kraanvogel als vriend gaat het helemaal mis. Eerdere vriendjes van moeder verdwenen al snel maar deze kraanvogel blijft en haar moeder gaat steeds vreemder doen. Het meisje heeft ook het idee dat haar moeder mishandelt wordt. Om voor Michael te kunnen blijven zorgen moet het meisje drastische dingen doen. ( )
  connie53 | Oct 10, 2023 |
Somewhere in the U.S. Midwest in the far-ish future, a girl's mother brings home a new partner. This partner is abusive, and is also a crane. This is a re-imagining of the folktale of The Crane Wife. Some of Kelly Barnhill's prose is truly lovely, but even within the givens of a magical-realist folktale, I found the world-building shallow. There are some nice observations about the tensions between love and obligation, but what Barnhill has to say about gender—surely at the heart of any genderswapped story—felt glib.

(Also, Barnhill might be capable of a nice turn of phrase, but who's writing Tor's copy? "A fifteen-year-old teenager"? C'mon.) ( )
  siriaeve | Sep 18, 2023 |
Reason read: It caught my eye when I was at the library and I had read her The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I did not know what to suspect but it starts out creepy. The first sentence; "The crane came in through the front door like he owned the place". The story is set in the Midwest on a house set up against a field of corn farmed by a conglomerate and machinery that is run remotely. The narrator is a 15 y/o girl who is taking care of her younger brother and her mother's weaving business.

The story is a retelling of a Japanese folktale which is about transformation. I am not familiar with the folktale and I am not sure if that was a disadvantage. Essentially the story is of a 15 y/o girl and her younger brother essentially abandoned by their mother for the man/crane who is abusive to their mother.

"men, women, and those who had transcended those categories"
"winters that now oscillated between unsettling temperate damp and bitter cold".

pg 34 "...the sweep of time and the tragedy of love and the persistent presence of the grave."
pg 117 "maybe we never actually run away. Maybe everywhere's the same."
pg 117 "I guess we really are what we are born for."
pg 118 "Her black eye is a pool of ink. It is a bottomless pit. It is a collapsed star. All density and hunger and relentless gravity, pulling everything it can into its center--to be unraveled, unmade, undone, and unrecognizable. How can anyone survive that kind of love?"

The author lives in Mpls and she started writing this letter while in southern Minnesota buying an RV and talking to the lady who was moving after selling her farm to a conglomeration. I enjoyed the story but it is creepy. ( )
  Kristelh | Aug 9, 2023 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Kelly Barnhillautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Carr, LindseyArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Foltzer, ChristineDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Malk, StevenAgentautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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A fifteen-year-old teenager is the backbone of her small Midwestern family, budgeting the household finances and raising her younger brother while her mom, a talented artist, weaves beautiful tapestries. For six years, it's been just the three of them - her mom has brought home guests at times, but none have ever stayed. Yet when her mom brings home a six-foot tall crane with a menacing air, the girl is powerless to prevent her mom letting the intruder into her heart, and her children's lives. Utterly enchanted and numb to his sharp edges, her mom abandons the world around her to weave the masterpiece the crane demands. In this stunning contemporary retelling of The Crane Wife by the Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, one fiercely pragmatic teen forced to grow up faster than was fair will do whatever it takes to protect her family - and change the story.

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