Riverbend's June Book of the Month

Where the Crawdads Sing is the debut novel by Delia Owens, an American wildlife scientist. Set in the marsh lands off the North Carolina coast. It is both a coming of age story, a murder mystery and a courtroom drama. It lands in Australia boosted by New York Times bestseller status, a frenzied foreign sales fight, and a movie in development by Reese Witherspoon.

The main storyline spans 1952 to 1970, following Kya Clark between the ages of six and 25 as she grows up alone in a shack in the swamplands of North Carolina after being abandoned by her family. She learns from the wildlife around her, gaining tricks of camouflage to evade truant officers and acquiring hunting skills to feed herself and catch mussels and fish to sell to shopkeepers in the town beyond the creek. The locals call her The Marsh Girl.

Where the Crawdads Sing really excels is in its treatment of racial and social division and the fragile complex-ities of nature, obviously relevant to contemporary politics and ecology. These themes are already reaching a huge audience though the writer’s old-fashioned talents for compelling character, plotting and landscape description.

Why We Chose This Book…

Readers who love Liane Moriarty and Barbara Kingsolver will flock to this book. It is a page turner, with clear, descriptive prose that brings the reader straight to the edges of the briny marsh waters, and directly into the mind of the Marsh Girl. Reading this story is a study of a unique place in our natural world. It also reminds us of the need for community and kindness. The conclusion is haunting and unexpected, yet leaves a sense of fulfillment as all well-told stories do.