Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens,

Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

Book description


For years, rumours 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…

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Why read it?

22 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I know everyone and their cat has read this book but, as it’s one of my all-time favourites, I just couldn’t leave it off my list. This beautiful, haunting book is set in North Carolina, 1950 to 1960, and follows the life of Kya Clark “The Marsh Girl”, a young woman who, after being abandoned by her entire family, must learn to survive alone in the wilderness, even after being accused of murder. It’s best to go into this one blind, so I won’t say too much more about the plot. A story of loneliness, nature, love, family, and what…

Kya feels at home in the wild. As a child, she lived alone for years in the marsh and was able to not only feed and keep herself alive but find peace with herself and nature. Having been raised on a farm and being a child who continually snuck off to be alone in the hills, I identified with her communion with nature. I’d go to the pasture and lie down in the grass on a hilly slope where I was sure I couldn’t be seen. I’d watch the clouds, the birds, and any critter that ventured within view. Like…

From Margie's list on heroines who inspire.

There’s a reason this novel was selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club and then adapted to a film by Reese’s production company. And there’s a reason it’s still topping the charts. Delia brings to life one of the most stunning young protagonists the world has seen since Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. Readers around the world fell instantly in love with the “Marsh Girl” and rooted her to victory against some particularly shady characters. Shining a light on racism and classicism, hypocrisy and dysfunction, abuse and mental illness, creativity and nature, this story checks all the boxes and…

A wonderfully colourful and vivid story about a marsh girl who falls in love, interspersed with a murder mystery. The writing is lyrical and yet not over the top. You can almost smell the marsh, feel the heat on your skin. Kya is strong-willed, naïve, and charming and you find yourself rooting for her from the very first page. 

From Dawn's list on escapism on a rainy Autumn evening.

I found the writing of this book superb, which only enhanced the story itself. The book is much better than the movie although I did enjoy seeing it come to life on the big screen too. There’s a surprise ending that drove me crazy and kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the morning! 

I read this book before seeing the movie and I’m glad I did. In this, her debut novel, Delia Owens paints an astonishingly real word picture of the marshlands along the North Carolina coast, where her main character, the unschooled, preteen Kya, hides away from Social Services. Kya says to her only friend, a teenage boy Tate, ”I’m scared they’ll pull me in like a trout, put me in a foster home or sump’n.” Smiling, Tate replies, “Well, we better hide away out there where the crawdads sing. I pity any foster parents who take you on.” The story revolves…

What put me in awe of this novel was not only the survival story of a young girl left to her own defences in nature, but the descriptions of her experience of nature itself. The story took place in the marshes of the south and her daily life of gardening, fishing, laying by the river bank watching the stars, listening to the bird song, and collecting feathers took me there in a sleepy romantic way. Kya’s story of abandonment by her mother, then her siblings, and finally by her abusive father was tough to read. Her fear of a society…

This story follows Kya who, as a result of her father’s drunken behaviour is abandoned in the harsh, but beautiful marshlands of North Carolina.

My overall feeling throughout, was that this child and later young woman, was resourceful and definitely a survivor. She portrayed such a great inner strength, that never did I feel that she would drown under the fierce ridicule and abuse that life handed her. It was Kya’s naivety and her appreciation of the simple things in her life that had me championing her cause.

This read conveys the worst and the best of life in a…

It is an unusual book to read. Quite fascinating to think that one so young could live her life semi-wild for as long as she did, being self-sufficient and alone. Ending up making a relatively good living. I enjoyed this read for its unique presentation You will never be quite sure of what you thought was going on. The ending was surprising.

This book is everywhere right now, what with the film release. Admittedly, I haven’t watched the movie; however, I devoured this story several years back. Though the mystery and character development are flawless, what really sucked me in was the low-country beauty. At times, the setting was a hostile, lonely place. And yet Owens’ treatment of the setting as a character unto itself draws you back to the book time and again.

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