Book Review

Where the Crawdads Sing

Rating:

I loved Where the Crawdads Sing.  It is billed as “a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative, and a celebration of nature,” and it is all of those things.  It also happens to be beautifully written.

Since I’m a writer myself, please let me focus on Delia Owens.  This is her first novel.  Prior to writing it, she authored three highly-acclaimed books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa.  Love of nature is, well, a natural to her.  Growing up in southern Georgia, she was taught love of everything wild by her mother, who sent her out to explore the forests, saying, “Go way out yonder where the crawdads sing.”  Where the Crawdads Sing is set in the marshland of the North Caroline coast, but it captures that same love of things wild.

Not the least of those things wild is Ms. Owens protagonist, Kya Clark, the fabled “Marsh Girl,” whose family members leave their marsh home, one by one, to escape an abusive father.  When he leaves also, Kya raises herself.  Her family is the creatures of the marsh, who know her well.  Unschooled, she is extraordinarily bright, and while she does make makes human friends with great care, she remains always that little bit different and apart.

A murder mystery keeps the plot moving, but it is the beauty of the writing, the portrayal of Kya and the marsh she loves, that gives this book breathtaking life