Delia Owens first novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, tells the story of a young girl abandoned by her family, left to her own devices for survival. Though every chance seems to stay perpetually and unforgivingly stacked against her, she survived the biggest of challenges and quietly celebrated the smallest of victories. That is until she meets two people who not only battle for her love but betray her and show her love is possible — but at what cost?
Owens’ tale weaves a colorful story of mid-century life in the wetlands of the mid-twentieth century North Carolina where swamp people were treated almost as harshly and unfairly as colored folks; rejected without a chance at the same privileges everyone else enjoyed. The novel starts as a story of just merely surviving, then turns into a murder mystery — which in itself is another form of survival. The protagonist, a profoundly private marsh girl, is dragged to the public arena of a trial to see if she killed a local football hero. The jury’s verdict is as surprising as the aftermath of the trail; arguably the most exciting happenstance Barkley Cove had seen in a hundred years. Who killed Chase Andrews? Was it the marsh girl, her friend Tate, Tate’s father, Scubber? Or was it just an accident? How exactly did he fall from that water tower with no trace of fingerprints or anything that might remotely point to his killer, even if it was himself?
No murder mystery novel would be complete with a twist ending. Owens delivers on that without disappointment. The book is well rounded, giving vivid visuals while wading through the idioms and peculiarities of the country folks in Barkley Cove. While not all of us were raised in the marshlands of North Carolina, we will recognize our prejudices, affections, and passions throughout Owens’ narrative prose.
Reese Witherspoon’s production company has optioned the book for a movie.
Ernest Sewell was born & raised in Oklahoma. After living across the U.S. in places like Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis, he’s settled in upstate New York for the past twenty years. He’s authored and published two books and is currently working on a new horror novel due in 2020. He shares his home with a friend, three cats, and his vinyl collection, all of whom have the same level of love from him. When he’s not causing an uproar on Prince forums or social media, he enjoys reads (a lot), trying new recipes, and prank calling people.
“Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does.”