Book review: Where the crawdads sing

‘Where the crawdads sing’ was an engaging read. Delia Owens has created a memorable character in Kya and the detail in her writing conjures the North Carolina marshes and their wildlife in exquisite detail. The story combines a murder investigation woven into the account of Kya, abandoned by her family, growing up in the marshes rejected and isolated from the local white community. The twist at the end took many of the group by surprise – although there were clues!

Kya is an immensely likeable and resilient character – although some of what she achieves in terms of education is a bit of a stretch in plausibility – and there are some aspects of the final denouement which seemed a little unlikely given her background but it was a good story all the same.

We discussed the way folk are marginalised – as ‘white trash’ Kya had no place in either the local black or white communities. Even in this country with the extensive safety net provided by social care it is possible for children to slip through. One of the most moving passages was the closing speech by the defence lawyer asking the jury to look beyond their prejudices and

We also discussed how aspects of nature were brought into the main story – the use of camouflage, the mating habits of fireflies and other insects, and how Kya’s knowledge of nature informed her actions.

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