Nice was the word that kept cropping in relation to this month’s book club read at Church St. The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness tells the story of George, a divorcee, who is woken up in the middle of the night to discover a crane in his back garden. As he tries to help it, the crane flies off into the night, but the next morning a kind but mysterious woman, Kumiko, arrives in his shop. Together they share an interest in creating art; George from old books, and Kumiko from materials and feathers. Their artwork together inspires and amazes others and brings with it riches for them both.
Firmly rooted in magical realism, the group seemed to agree that this was a book packed full of symbolism which was typical of the author, but at times felt a little over-developed. The main character, George, came across as loveable but a bit of a wet fish, yet it was the supporting characters, George’s daughter and her friends, who seemed to pique more interest, and their development throughout the book was particularly well done.
The symbolic, somewhat ambiguous ending was felt by many in the group not to be a typical happy-ever-after ending, but a much more realistic ending which stopped the book seeming too trite. Although most people seem to enjoy the story, there was a sense that it balanced a line between inoffensive yet not shying away from tough moments.
Overall the group seemed to enjoy the book, its easy-to-read writing style and interesting characters, but felt that the book lacked that something which would make it memorable.
Next month we’ll be meeting on Thursday 29th May at 6pm in the Church St branch and discussing ‘How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia’ by internationally bestelling author Mohsin Hamid. The book is described on GoodReads.com as “the astonishing and riveting tale of a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon… It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire … Yet his heart remains set on something else, on the pretty girl whose star rises along with his, their paths crossing and recrossing, a lifelong affair sparked and snuffed and sparked again by the forces that careen their fates along.”