As I read Where the Crawdads Sing, one thought kept going around and around in my mind: what must this novel have done for North Carolina tourism? Honestly, if the The Husband wasn’t such a slave to the office and the kids weren’t constrained by the restrictions of school, I think that I would be hot footing it across the US right now. Actually, perhaps the only way to enjoy the perfect tranquility of the marsh would be to leave them behind and live the isolation, just as Delia Owens describes it.
To say that this is a wonderful novel is to undersell something truly special. I have seen and visited marshlands previously and yet now, I feel like I went with my eyes closed. Truly, I could have read the descriptions of Kya’s isolated life, growing up alone with only the tides, birds and other marsh life for company, until I myself was older and greyer. I think this novel has forever changed my understanding of marsh life, which by my own admittance was scarce.
Not only is this book wonderfully descriptive when it comes to the natural world, but it also has a really great story to tell. Kya is a little girl of six when her mother finally leaves her abusive father. Following close in her wake her last sibling and father also go, leaving Kya to find a way to live alone. Forced to survive and wanting to stay in the security of the only home she has ever known, Kya finds ways to earn money without needing to venture too often in to the nearby town.
As Kya grows up the novel has a second thread, set a little in the future and focussing on the death of Chase Andrews, who from time to time Kya has seen on the beach with friends. This is what turns the book from a straightforward coming of age story into a mystery of sorts, adding a still further dimension to an already fantastic read.
It’s still early in 2019, but I would be very surprised if this year I read a book I enjoy more than this in terms of setting and pace. Go on, treat yourself!