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Book Discussion: The Crane Wife

    • carolineb
    • Carolineb April 20, 2014 3:12 PM

      Hi Everyone,

      So I’m just going to jump straight into my review, after saying that for next month I think we will do “Shock of the Fall” by Nathan Filer. It is supposed to be good, different and has won a few awards!

      Right, so, “The Crane Wife”.... hmmmm! Not sure what to make of this except that I know I thought it was weird!! It was short listed for the national book awards, and the blurb on the back interested me, which is why I thought we could give it a go and why I thought it would be really good. Instead, however, I just found myself being not really that bothered throughout about what happened – except at the end, I did get a bit hooked at the end, while simultaneously thinking “What is going on?!”

      The beginning g, I have to say, is probably the worst beginning to a book that I have ever read (that I've continued to read!). The toilet scene, with the detailed description of he urinates, really put me off! I found it unnecessarily distasteful, and now after I’ve read it I just think it was completely random. Did anyone else find this completely bizarre or is it just me and my prudish ways?! I’m sorry but I still cannot understand why he did that as a writer, the whole look roll drip thing (ugh!). it put me off before I’d begun, which is surely the last thing a writer wants to do? Any help here on understanding this? What’s worse is that I discussed it with Rosy afterwards and she pointed out that there is no mention of him washing his hands after all that other detail – I also noticed this in all the other toilet scenes in the book, which unfortunately suggests to me that perhaps the writer doesn’t wash his hands???! I apologise, I think I’m going slightly off topic here!

      Anyway, at first I found Amanda’s bit really uncomfortable, and I don’t know why – I know other people just didn’t like her but I found it uncomfortable – did anyone else feel like this?

      The tile story was boring to me at first too. I thought it was the author’s way of trying too hard to be artistic. But I did warm to it later, which turned out to be rather a good thing because the whole story was based around it apparently!

      From what I understand, Rachel was the volcano and George Kumiko were the Crane? Although it did say we were all both, but I think some people were more than others.

      I couldn’t really find a point to this book – although not all books have to have them.

      I can’t wait to see what you all thought about this! I’m sure you will be very opinionated! Haha

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      • rosyroo
      • Rosyroo April 20, 2014 3:40 PM

        Sorry to say this Caz but I hated this book! I would have given up on it early on but finished it for the book club. I totally agree with everything you said. The first chapter was gross, random, pointless and it massively put me off the book. Yes, I know I'm a huge clean freak so obviously noticed no one washed their hands, but I just thought these whole graphic bathroom descriptions were totally unneccessary- we're all human and we all know what it's like to go to the toilet, please stop describing it!!

        Rant over! I thought the book was really boring, and, like Caz, really didn't care what happened. I didn't really like any of the characters either (apart from JP but he doesn't really count!) so that didn't help. George was ok but then he slept with Rachel after proposing to Kumiko so I lost respect for him. Amanda and Rachel were very bitter and sad individuals. Kumiko was all mysterious, annoying and way to calm all the time- haha!

        When the parts about the volcano/bird appeared I skimmed them. I realised that there was obviously a lot of symbolism going on and a whole other level to this book, but I thought it was silly and so couldn't be bothered to try and work it out or think about it too much. If I had to guess I'd agree that obviously Rachel was a volcano- and I'm guessing Amanda must have been too as she was a very angry woman. And yes George and Kumiko were the crane. But I don't really get the point of it?? There's an angry side and a forgiving side to everyone?? But surely the message was that they were not compatible if this was the case as they had to kill each other?? In the mythical story bit yes, but also George (crane) couldn't actually be with Rachel (volcano) or Kumiko (crane)? He, as a crane, was compatible with neither, and so it seemed was Amanda, a volcano, and Rachel, a volcano. What a sad little ending that they all just became obsessed with Kumiko.

        I'd love to read other people's theories on this!

        Sorry for the harsh review Cazzy, I too was looking forward to reading this book as I've seen it in all the best seller charts and it's got good reviews on Amazon. It just wasn't my cup of tea!

        Rosy x

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