Delia Owens is an American zoologist. Her debut novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2020 for 32 non-consecutive weeks. The book has been on The New York Times Best Seller List for a whopping two years since its release. The book has already sold more than seven million copies worldwide and was a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club pick. Owens also co-authored critically books such as Cry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna with her then-husband Mark


Where The Crawdads Sing is Delia Owens’ first attempt at writing a work of fiction. Prior to this, Owens had spent a considerable amount of time exploring the lush landscapes and wilderness of Africa with her husband, Mark Owens. The title Where the Crawdads Sing has been adopted from a phrase Owens’ mother used to encourage her daughter, motivating her to ‘listen to the woods’.

The story begins on a day in 1952, when Kya’s mother takes a walk down the lane leading from their rundown shack in the North Carolina marshlands and never returns. As time passes, the entire family abandons the shack one by one, leaving Kya alone.

Kya embraces the wilderness and learns the laws of nature by observance. She is treated as an outcast by the town folks, who label her as the ‘marsh girl’. She is left to fend for herself. As Kya grows into a woman, the author touches upon various aspects of her life, such as love, discrimination, seclusion, and self-sufficiency.


The author’s personal experience has come in very handy in building the marsh, which comes across more as a person than a place. In an interesting twist, the author effortlessly hints at Kya’s past to point to a possible murder.


Kya’s survival in the wilderness alone, without any outside help, comes over as too far-fetched in some cases. But then again, this is easily excusable on the grounds of the creative liberties one often takes with fiction.


Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar. Reflecting sunlight, they swirled and sailed and fluttered on the wind drafts.

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


Ameya Rating:

Where the Crawdads Sing has broken many records since its release. It has even been selected for film adaptation and has largely been received very well by readers and critics alike. The book merits a commendable score of 4 stars out of 5 for treating readers to a close-up of Kya’s journey.

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