Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
A novel about a young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark.
But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived 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.
Marsh is not a swamp. Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows into the sky.
I can not remember the last time that a book was so hyped. Where the Crawdads Sing has transcended my online life into my real life. People who I didn’t even know were readers have been asking me if I had read this book! Now, when this happens, I often find myself scared off from picking up the book because how could anything possibly live up to such praise? I have had a lot of free time for reading this month and finally decided to give it a chance, and I am so glad that I did! I read it over the course of two days and I was completely immersed- even the gorgeous beach that I was reading on could not pull my attentions away from the story. It is that beautiful and engrossing.
Whenever I talk about historical fiction in the future, expect to see Where the Crawdads Sing mentioned. It has everything that I love about the genre and perfectly grasps why I think historical fiction is so special and unique. There is so much that you can do within the genre and I love when stories like this one play out over the course of several years. I have come to the realization that I adore books set in the 60s, no matter the subject. Crawdads also has that element of mystery that I always say that I love to find in historical fiction. There are two timelines that come closer and closer together as the story progresses and kept me on the edge of my seat!
Kya, our main character, is someone who I will not soon forget. I do not think I have ever read a book from a perspective like hers before. The closest I can think of is Rill in Before We Were yours (which I also read recently and adored- I think these two books are comparable to one another). It is fascinating to see how she manages to survive on her own and how she navigates through the world. I definitely have a special place in my heart for her.
The side characters were also well-written and managed to evoke a lot of emotion in me. There were some who I absolutely adored, some who I loathed, and others who I had conflicting feelings about. It was interesting to read how Kya interacted with each and every one of them.
There is so much to love and appreciate in Where the Crawdads Sing, from the atmospheric setting to the memorable characters. This is a tale I will not soon forget.
Yes! Even if you are not typically a fan of historical fiction, I think you will gain something from Where the Crawdads Sing.