For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.
But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life’s lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.
Marsh is not swamp. Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows into the sky. Slow-moving creeks wander, carrying the orb of the sun with them to the sea, and long-legged birds lift with unexpected grace—as though not built to fly—against the roar of a thousand snow geese.
Where the Crawdads Sing was simultaneously exactly what I was expecting and entirely different. I don’t know how a book can be predictable and surprising, but Owens totally pulled it off.
Kya’s loneliness is the theme tying this narrative together. It’s present from the first pages, seeping through every action and every moment. Every time she trusts or starts to believe things may change, she relearns the same lesson and returns to depending only on herself. I love that her character shines through while remaining vulnerable; she’s capable of being strong and fragile despite everything that happens to her.
She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn’t her fault she’d been alone. Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would. If consequences resulted from her behaving differently, then they too were functions of life’s fundamental core.
There’s not much to be said about Where the Crawdads Sing that hasn’t already been said – I might actually be the last person to read this book. I’m glad it finally surfaced on my TBR, as it’s a story that will stick with me for some time. Kya’s sense of self and love of nature are two lessons from which everyone could learn something. This is a story of perseverance and strength, and I enjoyed every moment.