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.
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: TIME, THE GUARDIAN, GARDEN & GUN
"Hauser builds their 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
“Clever, heartfelt, and wrenching.”
Ten days after calling off their wedding, CJ Hauser went on an expedition to Texas to study the whooping crane. After a week wading through the gulf, they realized they'd almost signed up to live someone else's life.
What if you released yourself from traditional narratives of happiness? What if you looked for ways to leave room for the unexpected? In Hauser’s case, this meant dissecting pop culture touchstone, from The Philadelphia Story to The X Files, to learn how not to lose yourself in a relationship. They attended a robot convention, contemplated grief at John Belushi’s gravesite, and officiated a wedding. Most importantly, they mapped the difference between the 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 path doesn't look the way they thought it would; for everyone learning to find joy in the not-knowing and to build a new sort of life story, a new sort of family, a new sort of home to live in.
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.