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Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Face Off: The Crane Wife

I love the story of the crane wife, and I love Patrick Ness' writing, so of course his retelling of the tale is on my wishlist. It's been bumped up the list recently, when I came across a second, delightfully whimsical cover for it. You see, I had originally come across the novel with its UK cover, which is nice enough but didn't really capture me. As it was being released later here in the States, it wasn't until much later that I came across the US version, which I just instantly connected with. (Not that I'm trying to bias you, or anything...)
So take a look at the two versions below, and have a gander at the synopsis, if that helps you make your decision, and then tell us in the comments, which you'd reach for on the store shelves? Which would you rather hold up while reading at the beach? In short,
Which one did it better? 

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.

Last Week on FFO: I got a little rant-y about last week's cover pairing: the one cover, Premeditated, is a cover I quite like. It's striking and original, and that's why the second cover, for a book called Broken Worlds, bothered me a bit — it was a total rip-off, and a poorly-done one at that! So no surprise, but...
winner ------->


  1. I JUST found out this book existed yesterday. Considering how I feel about the tale and the author, I'll definitely be checking it out. As for the Face Off, my vote goes for the cover with the book-art, which I guess is the US one. It seems to represent the story's protagonist well, and it's so unusual.

  2. I like the first of the two shown. But, given that summary, feel that the second suits the storyline better.

  3. Never was much of a fan of the first one, I think it fails to capture the beauty of the synopsis, love the (new?) US version, haven't seen that before.

  4. I like the one I think is the redesign (the one on the right). It is much more fantastical to me and catches my eye more.

  5. Even though I may be in the minority here, or even all out here on my own, I'd have to say that my eyes keep going back to the first one (on left) simply for the subtle coloring and the lovely crane wing design. Indeed, after reading the synopsis, the second one does suggest the story so much better. I just wish the type font on the second one was less boring and felt tied into the overall design. Um, hmm, gonna have to stick with number one. It's the one I'd rather be holding in my hands, I guess.

  6. Definitely the cover on the right.


Tell me all your thoughts.
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