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In 2019, CJ Hauser wrote an essay for the Paris Review about traveling to Texas to study whooping cranes in the aftermath of calling off her engagement. The piece went viral—more than a million people read it—and spoke to the universal feelings that accompany heartbreak. Hauser’s debut essay collection, featuring seven previously published pieces alongside 10 new ones, builds off those themes as the author revisits the love and relationships that have shaped her life. From an essay about grief and resentment over being chosen to spread her grandparents’ ashes to an exploration of a formative romantic relationship with a woman in college, Hauser is refreshingly candid and self-aware. She’s unafraid to get into the hard stuff—and it’s that vulnerability that makes her writing so accessible. Simultaneously clever, heartfelt, and wrenching, The Crane Wife underlines the messy relationship we all have with love. —Annabel Gutterman

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