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[Review] Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

by The Borrowers Book Group Kesgrave Library

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

The Borrowers Book Group at Kesgrave Library share their thoughts on Where the Crawdads Sing, written by bestselling nature writer Delia Owens.

About Where the Crawdads Sing

How long can you protect your heart? 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 immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say.

Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens.

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Book group review

This is a remarkable book with lots of elements to engage the reader which we enjoyed very much. The beautiful, descriptive prose vividly brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of the lush marshlands, creeks and lagoons where the story is set. One has a good sense of the remoteness of the landscape which contributes to the isolation of the main character.

The book centres on Kya Clark, her loneliness and longing to be loved and to belong. We identified fondly with her and found the rejections she experienced heart wrenching. The wonderful descriptions of feathers, shells and the natural world of her environment in which she immerses herself was amazing, as the author weaved her scientific knowledge through the book.

The murder mystery keeps one guessing, although the continuity and pace of the writing is variable. There are however some laugh out loud moments. Some lovely, well defined characters like Jumpin’.

Set in the 1950s and 1960s in North Carolina, the book sharply reflects the prejudice, racism and segregation of the times and assumptions made just because of poverty. It also highlighted attitudes to domestic abuse and the lack of any social care system.

Recommendation: A very enjoyable and beautifully descriptive book which prompted lots of discussion.

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