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First Published: 2018


Where the Crawdads Sing

unlisted author

Summary: Girl child of 7 lives alone in the North Carolina marsh after her family all leave her abusive dad. Grows into a strange isolated young woman, who is taught by nature and the marsh.

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Catalogued: 17th Jan 2021


Two interweaving time threads, the first starting in 1952 when six year old Kya\'s mother leaves home - their shack in the marshes - fleeing her abusive drunkard father and abandoning her family.

Over the next year her older siblings all leave, driven out by their dad, the last to leave being Jodie, her nearest brother.

The second thread starts in 1970 as some boys playing at the old fir-tower in the marsh discover the body of local young blood Chase Andrews dead at the foot of the tower, having evidently fallen from the top.

The sheriff investigates and, given the absence of footprints or human traces, including Chase\'s, concludes that foul play might be involved.

Back in 1953 after Jodie leaves Kya\'s Dad stops drinking and for a spell is not beastly to her, teaching her to fish in exchange for her keeping house. Kya is longing for her mother to return, and one day a letter arrives in her mothers handwriting - she gives it to her dad who silently reads it and falls into a fury, burning the letter and hitting the bottle again.

Kya now lives by avoiding her dad, who starts spending what little money he has on drinking in the village, leaving Kya to fend for herself. Eventually he doesn\'t return.

Kya grows up alone in the shack, supported by Jumpin and Mabel, the black couple who run a boat gas station on the edge of the marsh. Spends one day at school and is ridiculed as \'the marsh girl\' who can\'t read or spell \'dog\', she never goes back.

As a teenager she is befriended by Tate, who is sensitive to her lack of knowledge of, or trust in people and teaches her to read or write. He too loves the marsh and is studying biology so she starts to learn from his school textbooks.

Tate leaves to go off to college promising to come back - a promise he breaks and later regrets breaking. Kya\'s mistrust of people is now totally cemented.

Chase Andrews enters her life as he starts to woo her, but we see his insincerity - just looking for a sexual conquest, but he becomes intrigued by Kya and takes his time. 

In 1970 the sherriff\'s investigation is making slow progress, but gossip in the town knows of the strange Marsh Girls relationship with Chase, and she becomes a suspect.


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