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The Crane Wife by CJ Hauser review – frank and funny essays on doomed romances

This collection’s relentless focus on one person’s pursuit of intimacy invites us to redefine what a love story is In 2019, an American novelist of slender renown named CJ Hauser scored a viral hit with an essay about calling off her wedding and embarking on an ornithological field trip. The Crane Wife described a relationship in which she was cheated on more than once, though what finally brought her to her senses was the realisation that she couldn’t sustain the ludicrously “low-maintenance” persona demanded by her husband-to-be. On one occasion, he even presented her with a blank birthday card, explaining that it could be filed away and reused later. Ten days after ending the relationship, Hauser headed to the Gulf Coast, tagging along with a team studying the whooping crane, one of the world’s longest-lived birds. If you want to save a species, she learned, you need to pay close attention to what it requires to live – wolfberries and crabs in this case, all of which had to be counted. “If there was a kind of rehab for people ashamed to have needs, maybe this was it,” she mused. Continue reading...

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