Where the Crawdads sing by Delia Owens is an ode to nature, to the marshes, to solitude, to living amidst challenges, to thrive and to come out making a killing! Both literally and figuratively. After starting on the book several times and not getting past even one page on the Kindle, though I surprisingly love to read on the Kindle in general, I finally began the book again, this time on a library borrowed hard copy with a great font size and a new binding. And man, this time I couldnt stop. The book is beguiling to say the least and it kept me up all night reading till I ended it, murder mysteries have that quality you see, but this one is not a face-up murder mystery, it probably is but is layered under so many factors that the murder almost seems incidental. For an author who has written several award-winning books on the subject of nature, of the non-fiction variety, one can only expect a lot of information on the world of flora and fauna, while this one ticks all the boxes on the life in the marsh, the plethora of birds are captured quite beautifully.
There is a rhythm on the planet, the way the world works and then there is the way nature works, quite differently from the wordly world made by nature’s fondest child, man. But when the two worlds collide there can be mayhem, but when the two worlds collaborate then there is sheer magic. When Kya, the protagonist, already a wild child, in the rhythm of nature, learns to collaborate with the world of man, they is magic produced. She writes award-winning books, she paints furiously and she gets by on a charm that not many have. While she handles her issues, the author runs a faint thread of the right and wrong in the natural world and with that guides our sense of morality making sure we do not even judge and hardly despise the murderer. That quality which Owens achieves has truly captivated me.
Not much a bird-watcher this book had me looking out into trees, or even the sky watching for birds every now and then, it also had me hearing out to distinguish a parrot from a mynah. If bird-watching has been on your agenda from time immemorial, this one is something that will give you a final push and get you out there in all your glory. Sea-gulls, Red-chested cuckoo, and ofcourse the Crawdads, every page I turned had me googling for how the birds actually looked. I am so inspired to begin the rather noble device of bird-watching. Getting out those binoculars and emptying the mind. The way she describes mussels, fishing and even pies, makes one feel so in touch with the art of being, simply being. If we could only be, emptying the mind of anything, we can receive the enriching gladness of nature. That was my takeaway from the book. And the murder, oh well, it was nature surviving, the river taking its course. La di da.
It is a must-read if you are up for reading, but even if not, fret not, for there is a way, Resse Witherspoon is producing the movie starring Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya and the movie is slated to release this year. I doubt that the Director can capture the nuances that Owens manages to capture and convey in the book that reads so easily and effortlessly, but I am sure that it may even be worth a patch.