The Crane Wife: A Memoir in Essays


Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Doubleday Books
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.2 X 1.5 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

CJ HAUSER teaches creative writing at Colgate University. They are the author of two novels, Family of Origin and The From-Aways. In 2019 they published "The Crane Wife" in The Paris Review, which reached more than a million readers all over the world. This is their first work of nonfiction.


A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE SUMMER: TIME, Good Morning America, LitHub, BookRiot, The Rumpus, Texas Monthly, The Independent, & more

There's more to this memoir in essays than breakups and so much more to the book than the essay that started it all. An intellectually vigorous and emotionally resonant account of how a self gets created over time, The Crane Wife will satisfy and inspire anyone who has ever asked, 'How did I get here, and what happens now?'...Hauser builds her life's inventory out of deconstructed personal narratives, resulting in a reading experience that's rich like a complicated dessert--not for wolfing down but for savoring in small bites.
--New York Times, Mary Laura Philpott

"A frank exploration of intimacy and romance that doesn't always lead to a 'happily ever after'...Hauser is a playful, energetic and always likable writer...I kept thinking about all of the people in my life into whose hands I can't wait to put The Crane Wife."
--Washington Post

Hauser...weav[es] together a memoir about redefining love and living life outside of traditional boundaries.

Brilliant...This collection is not about neat, happy endings. It's a constant search for self-discovery...Hauser's worldview feels fresh and even radical.
--Oprah Daily

"After reading this forthcoming memoir-in-essays by the warm, wise, wry, and wonderful CJ Hauser. . . you'll have to go fix your face. Were you crying laughing or just crying? Both? Splash some cold water on your cheeks. That's it. Now, go forth in peace with a new understanding of what it means to live and love."
--Garden & Gun

Reading The Crane Wife is a bit like following Hauser into the Mirror Maze, her voice as narrator guiding the way through and out. Whether writing about familial or cultural stories, each text becomes a mirror in which Hauser sees herself reflected back. And in her willingness to turn inward, to truly face herself, Hauser's essays open outward, becoming themselves mirrors into which readers might gaze."

While it's always difficult to summarize an essay collection, what holds The Crane Wife together is Hauser's unpacking of emotional truths: who do we love, and why, and what happens when they're gone? When we're alone? When we forget what it was like to love them?"
--Literary Hub

"[The Crane Wife] explores love's many forms with frank, raw honesty, charting an artful path through one woman's experiences...Hauser's wry, introspective investigation of her assumptions about love will likely free readers to examine their own personal narratives as well...'The rare happy ending I appreciate is one that makes room for the whole painful fact of the world at the same time it offers the reader some joy, ' she writes. The Crane Wife embraces this philosophy again and again as Hauser excavates her past loves and losses, thoughtfully examines them and declares the pain of love to be worth the risk."

In The Crane Wife, Hauser undertakes a new way for her to tell stories from her life, playing with history and personal history, exploring the possible hidden truths in her family's past and her own. The result is like interconnected short stories but about her life, the person she is and was, maybe even the person she never knew herself to be. Funny, exciting, vulnerable--truly visionary.
--Alexander Chee
, author of Edinburgh and Queen of the Night

The Crane Wife is about is the power of stories: The ones we are told versus the ones we tell ourselves; how they shape and misshape our expectations; how those stories can both affirm our instincts and estrange us from our deepest yearnings, sometimes at the same time. CJ Hauser is an old soul with a fresh perspective and an energetic, wandering mind.
--Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun and former New York Times opinion columnist

"Y'all. Read the whole thing. It's damn good."
--Aminatou Sow, co-author of Big Friendship

The Crane Wife more than delivers on the immense promise of the viral essay that served as its source. My goodness is it funny, but also so devastatingly honest and bracing. Reading it is like taking a long road trip with your wisest, sharpest friend and talking the entire way.
--R. Eric Thomas, author of Here for It

CJ Hauser's The Crane Wife is a masterful work of art that sets the high water mark for what an essay collection can accomplish. Hauser takes the big questions of her life--death, motherhood, heartbreak--and spins them into something totally unexpected and altogether sparkling. These essays will shatter your heart and then stitch it back together again.
--Isaac Fitzgerald, author of Dirtbag, Massachusetts

About halfway through the collection, I started sending out you-have-to-read-this-book bat signals to friends. Yes, for the wit, yes, for the humor, but also the candidness, the self-awareness, the time it resembled not a book, but a mirror in which I briefly glimpsed myself...This is a book that understands me. This is a book that tickles the part of my brain that recalls who I wanted to be and considers how close or how far it is from who I am now. The writing is cunning, the perspective is refreshing, and it is deeply funny and true.
--Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

The Crane Wife is brilliant and beautiful--the vulnerability of her viral essay is expanded to include immense humor, pondering and further misadventures of the heart. An absolute must-read. I will be gifting this book all year long.
--Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face

"In this perceptive and probing work, [Hauser] brilliantly parses the myths that shaped her understanding of love...A thrillingly original deconstruction of desire and its many configurations."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] lively, thoughtful, and often funny set of personal essays...[Hauser] makes a welcome effort to talk about both love and culture in unconventional ways...A smart, inviting, and candid clutch of self-assessments."
--Kirkus Reviews

"[A] staccato, funny, barbed, metaphor-laced, and thought-provoking memoir-in-essays...[Hauser is] a threshing critic...No matter her focus, Hauser's deductions about human nature are always arresting, delving, fresh, and exhilarating."

Hauser's wisdom radiated out of her viral Paris Review essay, which resonated with more than a million readers. What could be better than a whole book made of that same elegant, precise and perceptive stuff?

--Book Riot

[Hauser's] wide-ranging and widely anticipated memoir-cum-essay collection...reflect[s] her determination to look for the unexpected and avoid accepted narratives of happiness.
--Library Journal

"Perceptive and witty...A principal pleasure of [Hauser's] first work of nonfiction is the fact that she's 'a kind of joyful sponge for the affectations and interest of the people I love.'...For readers, Hauser's agony is, if not ecstasy, then enchanting."
--Shelf Awareness

Brilliantly idiosyncratic. It's funny, beautiful and strange.
--The Independent (UK)

The bingeable essay collection...Smart, poignant stories spanning love, live--and moving on when neither go to plan. All threaded with snort-out-loud wisdoms.
--Grazia Magazine (UK)

Intimate, witty and beautifully crafted.
--Elle (UK)

The Crane Wife will make you think, laugh, cry and keep turning the pages.
--Red Magazine (UK)

If you ever ask yourself why you fell for, left, stayed too long, chose badly, questioned your instinct, then this blazingly clever memoir will be a revelation...this is a near-genius look at the search for love.
--Sainsbury's Magazine (UK)

Utterly brilliant.
--The Bookseller (UK)