Where The Crawdads Sing


Title: Where The Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens

Year: 2019

Genre: Coming Of Age, Murder-Mystery, Thriller Nature

Where The Crawdads Sing is the debut novel by Delia Owens – part murder-mystery, part coming of age and part celebration of nature.

The novel begins in 1969, with the discovery of the dead body of Chase Andrews in the marshes in North Carolina. He is a handsome, married former high school jock who is seen as one of the towns most popular people.

The story then moves back to 1952 where we meet our main protagonist Kya Clark, who is six years old when she and her siblings are abandoned by their mother who has a nervous breakdown due to their father’s drinking and abusive behaviour towards her.

In quick succession, all of Kya’s siblings leave and sent to school but is bullied by the rich kids, who live in the town so she decides to never go back to school and learns to live in nature.

As the years go by Kya becomes more reclusive and picks up the reputation of the Marsh Girl but as the police investigation continues in 1969 what connection does Kya have to Chase’s death if any?

I really enjoyed this debut fiction novel by Delia Owens. Delia is a renowned wildlife scientist who has written books about her life as a scientist in Africa such as Cry of the Kalahari and you can tell her knowledge of this as the descriptions of the marsh and it’s ecosystems are done wiht such vivid detail it forms a complete picture in your minds eye.

The central story is also gripping as you wonder what has happened to Chase and the book explores a lot of interesting themes, from domestic violence to people who are considered to be social outcasts and the impact this can have on their lives when things go wrong.

Kya is a very sympathetic character and you do feel that if people showed her more kindness within the novels earlier chapters then the life she ends up living would probably be completely different to how she lives at the end and the supporting characters who help her such as Tate, Jumpin’ and Mabel do teach a lesson that a little kindness can go a long way in helping someone to change their lives for the better. Her love and respect for nature is also very moving.

The only thing I must admit I was very surprised by and only realised when I looked at the movie adaptations poster is Kya is in fact a white character as I did feel throughout the novel that she was a black character which would’ve added a very interesting examination of race and how that affects societies opinion of people in the 1950s and 1960s. Though Owens does describe her as “white trash” in the book she also draws attention frequently to areas where black people couldn’t go in Barkley Cove which did make it a bit confusing and in my imagination I did firmly see the character as a black woman for some reason.

Overall I would recommend giving this book a try as it is a fascinating read with an interesting mystery, gorgeous descriptions and fascinating characters.

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