Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is set in the marshlands of the North Carolina coast of America. Two main threads to the story. One part starts in the early 1950s, the other in the late 1960s. The book is about the life of Kya Clark, known locally as the Marsh Girl. The early 1950s part of the story follows her growing up in the marsh and isolated from most other people in the area. The 1960s part relates to the discovery of a body of a well known local man who is found dead on the edge of the marshland. Can these stories really be connected?
The setting here, both in terms of place and time, are vivid. The writing draws pictures effortlessly. The sense of atmosphere is almost tangible. The local look down on the marsh dwellers and the marsh is often seen as an inconvenience to be resolved. Kya grows up loving the place and becoming an expert on it. As her real family dwindles the gulls and marsh creatures become family. The marsh itself becomes her playground and school as well as a source of income.
I found this book incredibly easy to become immersed in. Kya is one of those characters who will stay with you for a long time, Other characters are well rounded and interesting in the main. Where the Crawdads Sing is descriptively very strong however I never felt that this slowed down the narrative. I became a watcher of Kya’s life and felt the highs and the lows.
As this book had been published in the USA before it was published in the UK I was able to read reviews of it before I had the opportunity of reading it. It came over as a remarkable story. I am somewhat distrustful of books that everyone raves about and I considered not taking it. However the outline of the story appealed and I’m very glad I read it. Without question it is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It will stay with me for a long time I’m sure. Where the Crawdads Sing is a very rich story of the environment, people and their lives and deaths with a great central character. What is there to not like – 4.5/5
Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review