Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens reviewed

Where the Crawdads Sing Book Cover Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens
Little, Brown Book Group UK
January 17, 2019

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

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