Where the Crawdads Singby Published 14 Aug 2018
|Where the Crawdads Sing.pdf|
|Publisher||G.P. Putnam's Sons|
"Painfully beautiful."--The New York Times Book Review
"Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver."--Bustle
"Owens delivers her lush mystery wrapped in gorgeous, lyrical prose."--Alexandra Fuller
How long can you protect your heart?
For years, rumors 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.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Where the Crawdads Sing Reviews
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a 2018 G.P. Putnam's Sons publication.
One part mystery, one part legal drama, one part coming of age story, and one part love story- equals a full heartrending poignant tale that will leave you gasping for air.
Barkley Cove, North Carolina- 1969
Kya Clark- aka- “The Marsh Girl’ has been abandoned, one by one, by every single person in her life. She lives by the seat of her pants, in a shack, eluding everyone, except a friend of her brother’s named, Tate.
Tate watches out for Kya, when he’s able, and teaches her to read, among other things. As time moves on, however, despite a deepening affection for Kya, Tate knows he'll have to leave, and go away to college.
While he's away, the myth of ‘The Marsh Girl’ will solidify forevermore. Kya will face a challenge like no other, and her fate will rest in the hands of the residents of Barkley Cove, with folks who have taunted her, shunned her, and judged her, her entire life.
In 2016-17, there were several stellar novels written, which centered around children or teens raised in a turbulent, ‘off the grid’ environment, living in harsh conditions and under the care of an unreliable, or unstable father. While they were all quite compelling and effective, I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle another one with a similar theme.
Yet, with more and more high praise pouring in and one stellar review after another posted by readers, I began to regret my decision to pass on this one. So, obviously, I succumbed, and checked it out of the library.
I never doubted the book would be a good one, I just didn’t know if I had the emotional strength right at this moment to tackle the topics of abuse and neglect.
But as it turns out, this story isn’t really about the escape from an unconventional upbringing, or about the harsh survivalist or endurance skills needed to cope with an unforgiving landscape, as I had originally thought.
While the story certainly drives home the cause and effects of abandonment and the cycles of domestic abuse and violence, this is also a very tender coming of age tale, a story of survival, but also a story of real friendship, true love, and what it means to truly feel free.
Kya suffers a great deal of heartbreak, even from unexpected sources, but seems to have resigned herself to a way of life she believes is really her only true option. But, all of it is threatened when a body is found in the marsh, and Kya’s life is suddenly under a white-hot spotlight.
The author does a fantastic job with the ecological descriptions and drawing the reader into the beauty Kya sees in her environment. The rich characterizations, especially with Kya’s character study, is another area in which the book excels.
There are layers of thought -provoking topics, and a stunning revelation that knocked my breath out, but for those who are sticklers for realistic fiction, this one stretches the boundaries of plausibility in many places. However, you should allow yourself to go along with it, because that is part of the beauty of fiction, and it is well worth any required suspension of belief.
Ultimately, I was exceedingly glad I gave this book a try. It was everything I knew it would be, but it was a lot more than I anticipated. As a fan of courtroom drama, I enjoyed the trial scenes, and the mystery elements, but of course it is Kya who stole my heart and made me feel envious for to the kind of freedom and way of life she willingly sacrificed so much to maintain.
This is an incredibly beautiful novel from Delia Owens, totally immersive, an ode to the natural environment and the marshes in particular. Catherine Danielle Clark, aka Kya, is 6 years old when her mother leaves their shack in the remote wilderness of the North Carolina coastal marshes, next to the town of Barkley Cove. Her family is desperately poor, and before long her siblings follow suit, abandoning her to the care of her alcoholic, neglectful and abusive father, and at 14 years old, he too leaves her for good. Completely isolated, school proves to be a tortuous experience, she stays for only one day, avoiding all attempts by the truant officer and others to bring her back. Kya is the Wild Child, The Marsh Girl, Marsh Trash as far as the residents of Barkley Cove are concerned, directing hate, ridicule, contempt and hurtful prejudice at the bewildered Kya, as she becomes the target of harrassment and attacks, the community dehumanising and shunning her. No-one other than the black Jumpin and his wife, Mabel, offer help or advice to the lonely girl, and they face a barrage of racist attacks and humiliation themselves.
Unable to read and write, longing for the return of her mother, Kya desperately desires company, and to belong. For a while, she receives some sustenance in the form of Tate, who looks out for her, teaches her to read and write, and shares Kya's joy in the marsh world with its insects, wildlife, birds, weather and her untethered hold it has on her, collecting ever rare feathers and shells. A close relationship develops between the two of them until he leaves to study marine biology at university. Tate leaving has the effect of chipping away at Kya's inner capacity to trust as she once again finds herself isolated, but her curiosity about the marshes, and her ability to paint all that resides within it, has her pursuing a deeper and more academic knowledge of it. However, she still wants to belong and her burgeoning sexuality and hopes for marriage and family are met with betrayal, treachery and worse. In a narrative that goes back and forth in time from the 1950s to the present of 1969 onwards, where the favoured son of Barkley Cove, the golden boy Chase Andrews is discovered dead by two boys, having fallen from a tower. There is no evidence of murder, but the Sheriff is uneasy, and Andrews’s mother and the town are bursting with rumours of murder so a trial ensues.
Owen has written a captivating and mesmerising novel, unforgettable in its vibrant descriptions of the marsh location and the life within it. Juxtaposed with that is the small town of Barkley Cove, indifferent at best, malicious and dangerous at its worst, with none of the spirit of compassion to support a young child forced to find ways to financially survive, emotionally bereft, finding comfort in poetry that lends weight to her inner feelings. Despite all the horrors and struggles she faces, she makes something of herself, something which Barkley Cove refuses to acknowledge. Her profound sensitivity to nature, which proves to be the ultimate educator, shapes Kya's perception of the human behaviour she encounters. The marsh is where she belongs, it and all that it entails is home, everyone else has left her, leaving her exposed and vulnerable when she begins to feel fear. It is barely surprising that when elements of her life begin to shift that she would be wary and distrusting, although buried parts of her harbour tiny sparks of hope. This is simply superb storytelling that winds it way into your heart as I rooted for Kya amidst the barrage of turbulence and heartbreak she endures. Amazing read. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
You know that person? The one who doesn't like what everyone else seems to love? There has to be someone in the outlier club and this time it is me. I was highly anticipating this book after reading all the praise from readers whose tastes usually align with my own. Unfortunately, I should have DNF'd this one when very early in the book, my eyes glazed over and I began skimming pages and pages of descriptive writing. The author is a nature writer and those sections were undoubtably well-written. But I don’t care for overly descriptive writing. And then there's poetry. I skipped over those as well.
Everything other reviewers say they enjoyed were things I intensely disliked. I struggled with believability. I won't list them all, but the implausibility of every single plot point was something I couldn’t get past.
To make things worse, romance is not a genre I enjoy and the romance in this book had a very YA feel to it.
Finally, I found the use of dialect distracting to read and often in the same paragraph a character would switch from local dialect to proper English.
Sometimes my love of the story or the strength of the writing is enough for me to ignore implausibility and move past a few things I don't like. This wasn't one of those times.
Recommended for readers who enjoy long, descriptive nature writing, and those who have no trouble suspending disbelief. If I had known these things before starting this book I would have skipped it, so perhaps my review will help other readers like me.
* Thanks to Edelweiss for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
I'm typically skeptical of books that are hyped to high heavens and end up on every book club list for months straight, not because they aren't worthy, but because I can let my expectations get the best of me and keep me from fully enjoying a wonderful book. This book exceeded my already high expectations; it emanates a quiet power, a slow drawing in and connection of reader to book, one that I found myself able to get lost in due to the lush atmosphere and the depth of emotion. I can see now why this book is getting so much attention, and am thrilled to see that for once the hype train was right on track.
4.5 stars rounded up .
A story of survival, of what the depth of loneliness feels like when a young girl is abandoned first by her mother, then her four siblings. Even at five Kya understands why they left - because of her father, because of his meanness, his abuse, his drinking. What she doesn’t understand is why they left her behind and neither could I. She remains pretty much alone since her father comes and goes until he doesn’t come back. It was gutting as she sits on the beach with the gulls not wanting them to fly away and leave her too. Heartbreaking how she is neglected and abandoned, remembering the beatings, trying to figure out a way to eat.
Atmospheric is an understatement, and I don’t use that word often because it seems overused sometimes but this place, the marsh permeates just about everything that is meaningful in this story beginning with Kya’s realization “And the marsh became her mother.” The marsh becomes her life, her livelihood, the essence of who she becomes through her self learned expertise of the insects and the birds, her art. But is it enough to heal her? The kind hearts of Jumpin’ and Mabel who help a little girl alone and in need, the only human contact she has until her brother’s friend Tate comes into her life, but is that enough to help her heal ? I love the writing, fabulous descriptions of the marsh. The marsh and its inhabitants, the insects, the fish, the birds which pique Kya’s curiosity, give her so much joy and company, and allow her to become the expert she does become on the marsh and marsh life. But is that enough to make Kya whole after so much hurt and loneliness?
There’s a murder mystery, not my usual fare, but I was totally engaged, trying to come up with who the murderer was, totally engaged in the courtroom scenes. I gave it 4.5 stars because there were a couple of things that felt not quite realistic. But when I woke up thinking about this story, I knew I would round it up to 5 stars . I don’t often cry over books, but this one definitely brought me to tears at a number of places. Overall it was such a fabulous read, heartbreaking in so many ways, with wonderful writing and characters, a stunning portrait of a place, of the trauma of loss and loneliness. My heart was always broken for Kya, a character to remember. An unforgettable ending.
This was a monthly read with Esil and Diane and as always I appreciate their thoughts as we read together. In this case, we have very similar feelings about this beautiful story.
I received an advanced copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons through Edelweiss.