• The Crane Wife

  • A Memoir in Essays
  • By: CJ Hauser
  • Narrated by: CJ Hauser
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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The Crane Wife

By: CJ Hauser
Narrated by: CJ Hauser
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Publisher's Summary

A memoir in essays that expands on the viral sensation “The Crane Wife” with a frank and funny look at love, intimacy, and self in the twenty-first century. From friends and lovers to blood family and chosen family, this “elegant masterpiece” (Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Hunger) asks what more expansive definitions of love might offer ​us all.

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." —The New York Times

“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.” —BookPage

Ten days after calling off her wedding, CJ Hauser went on an expedition to Texas to study the whooping crane. After a week wading through the gulf, she realized she'd almost signed up to live someone else's life. 

Hauser releases herself from traditional narratives of happiness and goes looking for ways of living that leave room for the unexpected, making plenty of mistakes along the way. She kisses Internet strangers and officiates at a wedding. She rereads Rebecca in the house her boyfriend once shared with his ex-wife and rewinds Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story to learn how not to lose yourself in a relationship. She thinks about Florence Nightingale at a robot convention and grief at John Belushi’s rock and roll gravesite, and the difference between those stories we’re asked to hold versus those we choose to carry.

Told with the late-night barstool directness of your wisest, most bighearted friend, The Crane Wife is a book for everyone whose life doesn't look the way they thought it would; for everyone learning to find joy in the not-knowing; for everyone trying, if sometimes failing, to build a new sort of life story, a new sort of family, a new sort of home, to live in.

©2022 CJ Hauser (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

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 dessertnot 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 takes the reader along on a soulful journey of self-discovery as she brings together smart, astute observations on modern love and life...The essays in this volume offer a fascinating blend of relationships and breakups, colorful family stories, and cultural and literary influences. In fluid prose, she pursues more fulfilling ways to find happiness...What a pleasure it is be in the company of this writer. With clear eyes and an open heart, she finds her way and discovers that unmasking mistakes and vulnerabilities is one way of being strong.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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Laugh, cry and be human

Very pleasant voice to listen to. Lots of courage to publish this, it’s the kind of journaling you do then hide or throw away because you don’t want anyone else to read. As CJ untangles her life she provides moments of insight we can all relate to.

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Thank you CJ!

I loved everything about this book, including the narration. Her stories are grounded and relatable, but continuously keep me wanting more through their prose and poetry. I got the point where I was annoyed when I had to stop listening and engage with people because this is the book I’ve been searching for.

I listened all the way through her gratitudes. All I can say I guess in summary is that this book felt like relief. I am a woman for me, and I was first a woman with me.

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Recommended!

This is a smart, engaging book. I wish the author was my friend. She is funny and lovely in witty. She made me want to reread Rebecca. I hope she writes more nonfiction about her life and how it goes in the future. She’s an excellent reader too. I loved hearing the story in her own voice.

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Short stories about past relationships

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this book because I just couldn't get into it. It just wasn't relatable to me. The author goes into a lot of short stories about past short-lived relationships, and how she fell for many men for the wrong reasons. This may be very relatable to most people, so give the book a shot. Maybe everything comes together in the end. I wish it would have sustained my attention more.

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Amazing

First, the performance is awesome. Hauser’s performance is amazing and on par with a pro narrator—but the way she talks about the memories, as a person who lived them, is incredibly impactful. I can hear her remembering the things she is talking about.

Second, what a gut wrenchingly beautiful book. This is a raw and strange (in a good way) exploration of love, and honestly I feel we don’t do it enough. Uncoupling, The Man Behind the Curtain (I think it was called) are some of the essays that stood out to me. Wonderful wonderful wonderful.