By Delia Owens


As a child, Kya is left to fend for herself in the coastal marshland of North Carolina. Growing up, she develops a special bond with the wild, an intricate knowledge of the marsh and its magic. The marsh is the constant, her companion, as she navigates love and loss.

Where the Crawdads Sing is one of my favourite books. It is a story about loneliness and the power of the natural world. It is heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure; you’ll cry happy and sad tears before you’re finished.

The story ostensibly revolves around the discovery of the body of a local man, Chase Andrews, in the marsh. The reader gets the feeling that Kya might somehow be involved in the story of how he came to be face up in the mud, but the details unravel slowly throughout the book.

This is a murder mystery that takes a back seat. Instead of the natural world providing a convenient backdrop for the main storyline, the marsh, and Kya’s relationship with it, are the focus of this book.

The mystery takes nature’s pace – it stops to look around, to watch Kya’s life, instead of ploughing ahead into speculation.

Owens does an incredible job of building the reader’s mental picture of the marsh, the town, Kya’s shack. Reading this book for the second and third time, years apart, I return to the familiar locations and they feel like real places I’ve visited, their details so particular in my imagination that they must surely be remembered from real life.

A wonderful portrayal of the comfort that the natural world can bring, Where the Crawdads Sing is a must-read.

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