Love, Sacrifice, and Family: Revealing Kelly Barnhill’s The Crane Husband

“Mothers fly away like migrating birds. This is why farmers have daughters.”

We’re thrilled to reveal the cover of Kelly Barnhill’s The Crane Husband—a powerful, intimate adaptation of “The Crane Wife” forthcoming in February 2023 from Tordotcom Publishing.

“Mothers fly away like migrating birds. This is why farmers have daughters.”

A fifteen-year-old teenager is the backbone of her small Midwestern family, budgeting the household finances and raising her younger brother while her mother, a talented artist, weaves beautiful tapestries. For six years, it’s been just the three of them—her mother has brought home guests at times, but none have ever stayed.

Yet when her mother brings home a six-foot tall crane with a menacing air, the girl is powerless to prevent her mom letting the intruder into her heart, and her children’s lives. Utterly enchanted and numb to his sharp edges, her mother abandons the world around her to weave the masterpiece the crane demands.

In this stunning contemporary retelling of “The Crane Wife” by the Newbery Award-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, one fiercely pragmatic teen forced to grow up faster than was fair will do whatever it takes to protect her family—and change the story.


“If I had to nominate a worthy successor to Angela Carter, I would nominate Kelly Barnhill. The Crane Husband is a bloody, subversive, and brilliant reimagining of a familiar fairy tale, rendered strange and haunting.”—Laura Ruby, two-time National Book Award Finalist and author of Bone Gap

“The incomparable Barnhill delivers this sly, confrontational retelling with masterful ease and crystalline prose, revealing, feather by feather, the very real generational threat that has always burned at the core of this ancient story.”—New York Times bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente

Cover art by Lindsey Carr; Design by Christine Foltzer


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