When I first heard of the book “Where the Crawdads sing,” I did some research to figure out what the title meant and what the book was about. There was considerable critical acclaim for the book and also some criticism about all the hype. I decided to set all the reviews aside, and to read it because the setting seemed fascinating. Set between 1940 and 1970, the story takes place along the North Carolina coastline.
Crawdads made me feel I was taking a trip to a new, pristine and unexplored place.
Delia Owens, a zoologist, creates a captivating narrative and succeeds in bringing the marsh and its ecosystem to life. It wasn’t the romance or the mystery, but the landscape that held my attention. As I went along, I pictured myself on a visit to the marshland where crabs scuttle, gulls swoop down, and crayfish congregate. I was immersed in the world of shifting tides in a version of the Atlantic I hadn’t seen before. The myriad shells and feathers formed a familiar yet alien backdrop for this novel.
As I settled into this lush and quiet landscape, I identified with the little “marsh girl’ who builds a life for herself. All alone, hers is a story of grit, intelligence and survival. Crawdads is a fascinating book in which fiction sometimes sounds like non-fiction and prose sounds like poetry.
It is a story with substance that delves into relationships, kindness, the importance of family and how things change when everything is taken away.