MemoirThe Crane Wife by CJ Hauser

The Crane Wife by CJ Hauser


How. How does CJ Hauser do it? This is a memoir in essay form – does that sound like the kind of book that will feature in myriad must read summer lists, be reviewed and lauded in international press and called by @oprah “stunning and interrogative”? 

The Crane Wife started life as an essay in the @parisreviewthat exploded over the internet in 2019, read over a million times. In a world of glib memes and increasingly short attention spans, you know when an erudite, artful, literary essay goes viral online it has to be something special. Hauser, with searing honesty, talks about her broken engagement and, ten days later, heading out on an excursion to research the whooping crane, of all things. She uses this as a springboard to explore relationships, love, female desire and the fear of being seen as “needy” which struck a chord with so many online.

This newly published book is a collection of 17 essays including its famed titular essay. Honestly I picked this proof copy up just to read the synopsis when it came through my door and I was very quickly drawn in. Hauser is a professor of creative writing and literature and she is truly a master of her craft. Using her innermost thoughts and experiences, this felt like a languid, witty, baring of the soul between friends. 

What does society define as a happy ending? The author forensically examines herself, family history and love life. The narrative voice is so strong, bringing together a broad range of subject matter and anecdotes. This doesn’t feel disparate & I particularly loved the use of literature, films and tv which draws out so many different points on society and culture, from grief and family to queer identity and body image. 

Hauser challenges conventional narratives to look for her own version of happiness but this is eminently readable and dynamic. The NY Times says this is for anyone that has ever asked “how did I get here and what happens now?”. For me this is about releasing ourselves from expectation and learning to accept and relish our innermost needs ~ C

Ad:PR Copy featured – thank you @vikingbooksuk for clearly knowing me better than I know myself and sending this!

Order your copy here.

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