Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Where The Crawdads Sing is a fictional story set between the 1950s and the 1970s on the North Carolina coast. It tells the story of Kya, the youngest child of a family that lives in a remote shack in the marshlands.
It is a haunting tale of loneliness and one of wonder at the natural world. Kya was just six when her mother left and never returned. Her siblings all left soon after until it was just Kya and her drunk, violent father. Using basic survival, the kindness of a few folks and the lessons she learnt from her Ma and her older brother, Kya was forced to look after herself.
As well as this being a coming of age story there is also a darker side. A body is found in the opening pages of the book and most of the townsfolk accuse (adult) Kya because she was seen as strange and she was an easy scapegoat. The story then goes back to Kya’s youth and what led to her arrest. It is so well written that I was right there in the story wanting to reach out and help Kya.
This book has been on my TBR list for ages and I am so glad that I finally got a chance to read it.
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For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.
But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life’s lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.
In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures.