The Crane Husband (Hardcover)
A girl (who is never named) takes on the management of her household and the bringing up of her young brother, Michael, as her Mother weaves and makes cheese. One day Mother welcomes a crane into the house and asks that they call him Father. Mother stops making cheese, selling her work, even eating, and disappears into her studio with the crane. As the family falls apart and the girl is visited by social services for truancy, she plans revenge against the crane. A dream-like retelling of a Japanese fairytale. I loved it.— Caroline
Award-winning author Kelly Barnhill brings her singular talents to The Crane Husband, a raw, powerful story of love, sacrifice, and family.
“If I had to nominate a worthy successor to Angela Carter, I would nominate Kelly Barnhill. "—Laura Ruby
A Most Anticipated in 2023 Pick for BuzzFeed | The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Mothers fly away like migrating birds. This is why farmers have daughters.”
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.
About the Author
Kelly Barnhill is the author of the adult novel When Women Were Dragons and several middle grade novels, including the New York Times bestselling novels The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the 2017 John Newbery Medal, and The Ogress and the Orphans. She is also the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, and has been a finalist for the SFWA Andre Norton Nebula Award and the PEN America Literary Award. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.
Praise for The Crane Husband
“If I had to nominate a worthy successor to Angela Carter, I would nominate Kelly Barnhill. The Crane Husband is a bloody, subversive, and brilliant reimagining of a familiar fairy tale, rendered strange and haunting.”—Laura Ruby, two-time National Book Award finalist and author of Bone Gap
"Few books have left me as haunted as Kelly Barnhill’s mesmeric The Crane Husband."—Cassandra Khaw, USA Today bestselling author
"The incomparable Barnhill delivers this sly, confrontational retelling with masterful ease and crystalline prose, revealing, feather by feather, the very real generational threat that has always burned at the core of this ancient story."—New York Times bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente
"A fast-moving, lush story that refuses to end neatly, a story of flighty mothers and the daughters who die a little keeping their families alive. Fans of fairy-tale retellings will eat this one up.”—Booklist, starred review
"[A] grim, grown-up fairytale . . . fans of dark, surreal fantasy will be enthralled."—Publishers Weekly
Beyond retelling a folktale, Barnhill (When Women Were Dragons) constructs nuanced characters with conflicting motivations and loyalties . . . [and] arrives at a thought-provoking conclusion.”—Library Journal
Praise for When Women Were Dragons
“Ferociously imagined, incandescent with feeling, this book is urgent and necessary and as exhilarating as a ride on dragonback.”—Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians Trilogy
“Completely fierce, unmistakably feminist, and subversively funny, When Women Were Dragons brings the heat to misogyny with glorious imagination and talon-sharp prose. Check the skies tonight—you might just see your mother.”—Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry
“A complex, heartfelt story about following your heart and opening your mind to new possibilities. This novel’s magic goes far beyond the dragons.” —Kirkus, starred review