Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens has been a crowd favourite since publication in 2018. This novel is the story of Kya a young girl who is abandoned by her family leaving her alone in the marshes on the North Carolina coast beginning in the 1950’s. Through this heartbreaking experience she develops an incredible toughness and skills to stay alive. Told through the shifting perspectives of time, jumping from Kya as a young girl to the murder of a young local man this story comes together as part crime fiction, part coming of age story.
This is ultimately a story of the effects of isolation and how this comes to shape Kyas life something Owens herself has experienced firsthand as a wild life scientist having spent a lot of time in isolation while studying lions in Africa. The phrase referenced in this book “Go way out yonder where the Crawdads sing” was one that Delias own mother used to say to her, which is why it is no surprise the nature writing in this book is magnificently magical. The setting of the marshes turns into a character in itself, becoming a guide for Kya to make sense of human behaviours as she compares this to animal instincts throughout the novel. There is a lot of potential for Reece Witherspoons movie adaptation to be absolutely stunning onscreen and I can’t wait to see the marshes come to life.
We also get insight into different aspects of rejection, from society’s disregard to our most natural raw human behaviours to those very relevant long standing prejudices against those who are different, women and people of colour.
The books wide appeal is understandably due to its unique plot line and the love story that unfolds within but for me sadly the character development fell a little short especially when in dialogue or through the overly literal explanation of thoughts leaving no space for the readers imagination to interpret the story for themselves. However this does make it an easy read, especially if you are struggling to concentrate right now or are just looking for something light.