Where the Crawdads Sing: A Novel
Author Delia Owens is a zoologist, as a reader will realize. "Where the Crawdads Sing" paints a picture of the outer banks of North Carolina--the marshlands where people on society's cusp retreated to live off the grid. Owens' picture is one of the sea, the marsh and bayous, and the life--trees, grasses, blossoms, ferns, birds, insects, fish, snakes. A girl named Kya lives in a poverty-stricken home. Her father, an abusive alcoholic, drives away her mother and, one by one, the children old enough to get away.
Kya is left behind to face loneliness--to struggle to survive and still hope for companionship and love. Her contact with the nearby town is hurtful, with the cries of "marsh girl" stinging her ears, so that she uses her evasion skills to keep the truant officers from finding her and forcing her to go back to school. She finds a protector in a black man who owns a store on the town's wharf. He buys the mussels she digs so that she has a few necessities. Her companions are the life of the marsh. She knows every sound, every movement as she travels in her small boat through the waterways. Her story is told with the elegance of someone who knows about survival, loneliness, and beauty.
Everyone who's into books knows about this novel. It was on the NY Times best seller list all through 2019. It doesn't need an advertisement from me. But I do want to express my admiration. It's up there with "To Kill a Mockingbird" in American classics.