Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

Book - 2018
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For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She's barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world--until the unthinkable happens.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2018]
ISBN: 9780735219090
0735219095
Characteristics: 370 pages : map ; 24 cm
Call Number: OWENS, D

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Discussed at the August 2020 book club.

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This title was discussed on Zoom on Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Comment
shift8nic Jun 08, 2020

I try to read books before they're made into movies and this one is a must-read!
I can't wait to see the casting for Kya, she is such a fierce and lovable heroine. I would recommend this to anyone, but if you've been to North Carolina you'll definitely appreciate the local references. The story... Read More »

Comment
AnnabelleLee27 Dec 31, 2019

While there were many fascinating elements (themes of nature, landscape, love, loneliness, and a strong female lead) in this novel, the characters were not complex enough to carry the plot which was not always convincing or believable. The first part was definitely the best and was both powerful ... Read More »

Comment
DCLadults Jan 02, 2019

A New & Noteworthy Best of 2018 pick. A young girl is abandoned at far too young an age, but survives. The words, the beauty of the place, and the story will pull you in. And oh, there’s a murder to solve.


From the critics


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d
dmlopez0739
Jun 12, 2021

Wow. Wow! I haven't stayed up to finish a book in years, and I'm so glad it was this one. It's almost 1AM and I am on a book high. The beginning was a bit a slow-going, it takes a minute, but once it grabbed you it does not let go.

b
betsymarzoni
Jun 08, 2021

This novel could be the basis for a very popular and visually beautiful movie.

n
Nativereader
Jun 02, 2021

Was there anyone who didn't love this book? Well, from the comments below, I suppose so but this is far superior than many other books in storytelling, suspense, surprise, romance, danger, nature...you name it. I loved most of the characters and the ones I didn't the reader wasn't supposed to! I can imagine coming back to this book again.

e
eparker2k1
May 11, 2021

Idk maybe it's just me, but I didn't love this book. It was good but didn't have me staying up all night to finish it either. It was sad. And I felt the first half of it moved awfully slowly. The ending make it worth it but it was kinda tough to get into at first.

e
EARRRRRR
Apr 25, 2021

I love how Owens uses her background as a zoologist to provide beautiful descriptions of creatures and nature in general. It is a very lyrical and moving story. Some of the events ended up shocking me due to the great presence of the characters the story is based on. Kya is such a unique character in many ways: she is intelligent, brave, and sheltered: she lends her trust to others very easily. Her observations of her environment makes this comparable to Anthony Doerr’s “All The Light We Cannot See.” These individuals don’t feel like super perfect magazine people; instead, these characters almost feel more like friends. Narratives about the swamp ecosystem, love, and family are intertwined into this amazing work. I have mixed feelings about the plot, but the writing is just stunning!

z
zakksmom
Apr 14, 2021

I thought this was a great book. If it takes me less than 3 weeks to finish reading a book, then it was a good one. Very riveting, must read.

s
Sandycanread
Apr 14, 2021

I found the way Kya was left by all of her family very unbelievable. She was just a little girl, wouldn’t one of her siblings rescue her when they ran away.
Would a community really abandon a child all by herself?

I did enjoy the beautiful friendship with Mabel & her husband, it seemed authentic

Would a young man really explain menses to a girl, come on, never.

I am not sure if Kya actually killing Chase was plausible, she never ever gave an impression of being violent
Sorry, so many “ oh come on’s” in this long story.

o
ownedbydoxies
Apr 04, 2021

The nature-based elements of the story were really fine in my opinion, but when it came to descriptions of main characters and their relationships, I found it a little too bodice-rippingly simplistic. She's drop-dead gorgeous, both blokes are devastatingly handsome, etc. etc. So, meh.

c
CRay
Apr 03, 2021

Seems like a regular, predictable novel, until the ending. The ending kicks you in the gut. It is memorable, for sure. I did like the descriptions of nature. It paints a picture like that of bayou near New Orleans. People who are keen natural history buffs will love the book.

b
beaches4evr
Mar 31, 2021

Loved this book! Such lovely descriptions of North Carolina marshlands and coastal areas, and the birds and other animals that inhabit them. A different world for me , and I felt like I was there.

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Quotes

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m
mroufael
Aug 30, 2020

“Please don’t talk to me about isolation. No one has to tell me how it changes a person. I have lived it. I am isolation.

m
mroufael
Aug 30, 2020

"Faces change with life’s toll, but eyes remain a window to what was...”

m
mroufael
Aug 30, 2020

“If anyone would understand loneliness, the moon would.”

m
mroufael
Aug 30, 2020

“Why should the injured, the still bleeding, bear the onus of forgiveness?”

m
mroufael
Aug 25, 2020

"the definition of a real man is one who cries without shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul, and does what's necessary to defend a woman."

a
amahof7
Jan 30, 2020

Tate’s father told him many times, “The definition of a real man is one who cries with shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul and does what’s necessary to defend a woman.”
Mabel to Kya:”Ya need some girlfriends hon, cause they’re forever. Without a vow, a clutch of women is the most tender, most tough place on earth”

c
cknightkc
Jun 24, 2019

“She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn't her fault she'd been alone. Most of what she knew, she'd learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.”

c
cknightkc
Jun 24, 2019

“I wasn't aware that words could hold so much. I didn't know a sentence could be so full.”

c
cknightkc
Jun 24, 2019

“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”

Age

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maryminyen
May 24, 2021

maryminyen thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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kxyhuang
Nov 16, 2020

kxyhuang thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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GreaterChicken
Jun 22, 2020

GreaterChicken thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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ellysaurus
Feb 04, 2020

ellysaurus thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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t3485tank
Oct 31, 2019

t3485tank thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

a
AliceInWonderbread
Sep 19, 2019

AliceInWonderbread thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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nherrera61
Aug 07, 2019

nherrera61 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Summary

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j
janiedobbs
Dec 30, 2019

The novel’s main narrative opens in the marshland near the fictional town of Barkley Cove, North Carolina. Seven-year-old Catherine “Kya” Clark lives in a shack in the swamp with her mother, father, and siblings. However, one day, Kya’s mother leaves the shack forever in order to escape the physical abuse inflicted by Kya’s father. Kya’s siblings soon leave on their own as well, leaving only Kya and Pa. Pa spends increasingly more time away from the shack over the years, and when Kya is about ten years old, Pa leaves forever. Kya has become thoroughly self-sufficient by this time, living on the land and occasionally trading in town for necessary supplies.

When Kya is 14 years old, a kind local boy named Tate Walker begins to visit Kya, and he teaches her how to read. He is about four years older than Kya. He also gives Kya his old textbooks from school. When Kya is 15 years old, she and Tate fall in love, but Tate insists that they do not have sex until Kya is older. Tate soon leaves for college, and although he promises to love and remember Kya, Kya feels abandoned. When Kya is 19 years old, she suddenly becomes attracted to a young local man named Chase Andrews. Chase begins visiting her often. Chase says that he loves her and is eager to have sex with her. Kya refuses at first, but after about a year, she consents to sex.

Tate eventually returns to Barkley Cove in order to perform scientific research on the marshland. He visits Kya and asks for forgiveness, but she refuses to take him back. Tate sees that Kya has performed much of her own research on the marshland, and he urges Kya to submit it to publishers. Tate also warns Kya that Chase is a dishonest womanizer. One day, Kya sees in the newspaper that Chase has become engaged to someone else. She is heartbroken. Later, she submits her research to publishers, and when she is 22 years old, a book of her research is published under her name. Kya’s brother Jodie sees the book in a store and returns to the swamp to reconnect with Kya. Jodie encourages Kya to give Tate another chance.

Chase eventually visits Kya and says that he wants to continue his relationship with her, despite the fact that he is married to someone else. When Kya refuses him, Chase tries to rape her. She hits him and escapes. Kya realizes that because Chase is such a popular member of the town, and because she is an outcast for living in the swamp, she has no recourse. One day, in October of 1969, Chase’s body is found near the swamp. He appears to have fallen—or possibly have been pushed—out of a fire watchtower. The sheriff investigates and arrests Kya. However, the evidence is inconclusive and circumstantial, and Kya is acquitted. She and Tate declare their love for each other, and they live together in the swamp. Kya continues her career as a naturalist, and Tate continues his career as a researcher. Kya dies at age 64, after which Tate finds evidence that seems to prove that Kya killed Chase. He disposes of the evidence so that no one will ever find it.

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