I know I’m a bit late to the party on this one but I recently read Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I was completely blown away by her writing; the characters were fully fleshed out to the point I felt as if I knew them, and the marshland setting was so vivid it seemed to seep from the pages. Owens also masterfully crosses several genres in one book which adds enormously to it’s compelling read. On the one hand her beautiful and sensory prose reads like literary fiction, while her descriptions of setting are more like nature writing – right down to the specific details (I learnt so much about marshland flora and fauna). Yet through all this runs a streak of crime fiction with the murder mystery plot at the centre of the story. I couldn’t put it down. Some sentences in particular were so beautifully constructed and conjured such visual images that I had to read them twice to appreciate them!
The story follows the life of Kya, a girl living, surviving and maturing in the isolated landscape of the marshes. Alone for the majority of her life with only the company of her surrounding flora and fauna, she learns the ways of the world through watching the cycles and patterns in nature.
Moulded by the marsh and her rare interactions with other individuals, at first she seems a relatively passive contributor to her life. Until one day she has to draw on all that she has learned from her homeland and make a decision that will change her life.
I especially loved the way the storyline jumps backwards and forwards in time, building the tension towards the climax when the two timelines meet. Kya’s journey also seems to be especially poignant in light of the events we have recently been experiencing, as it raises some probing questions about isolation, loneliness and loss.
What an amazing novel. I finished this book several weeks ago but it’s taken me this long to find the words to do it justice! The writing was so compelling I struggled to put it down and have since been recommending it to anyone who will listen.
One of those books that will stay with you long after you have read the last page.
Meg Readz xx