Where the Crawdads Sing pdf by Delia Owens


Where the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens
Where the Crawdads Sing(1)


Also by Delia Owens
Title Page
PART 1 | The Marsh
1. Ma
2. Jodie
3. Chase
4. School
5. Investigation
6. A Boat and a Boy
7. The Fishing Season
8. Negative Data
9. Jumpin’
10. Just Grass in the Wind
11. Croker Sacks Full
12. Pennies and Grits
13. Feathers
14. Red Fibers
15. The Game
16. Reading
17. Crossing the Threshold
18. White Canoe
19. Something Going On
20. July 4
21. Coop
PART 2 | The Swamp
22. Same Tide
23. The Shell
24. The Fire Tower
25. A Visit from Patti Love
26. The Boat Ashore
27. Out Hog Mountain Road
28. The Shrimper
29. Seaweed
30. The Rips
31. A Book
32. Alibi
33. The Scar
34. Search the Shack
35. The Compass
36. To Trap a Fox
37. Gray Sharks
38. Sunday Justice
39. Chase by Chance
40. Cypress Cove
41. A Small Herd
42. A Cell
43. A Microscope
44. Cell Mate
45. Red Cap
46. King of the World
47. The Expert
48. A Trip
49. Disguises
50. The Journal
51. Waning Moon
52. Three Mountains Motel
53. Missing Link
54. Vice Versa
55. Grass Flowers
56. The Night Heron
57. The Firefly
About the Author

About the Author
Delia Owens is the coauthor of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa—Cry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, the African Journal of Ecology, and International Wildlife, among many other publications. She currently lives in Idaho, where she continues her support for the people and wildlife of Zambia. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.


Marsh is not swamp. Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows into the sky. Slow-moving creeks wander, carrying the orb of the sun with them to the sea, and long-legged birds lift with unexpected grace—as though not built to fly—against the roar of a thousand snow geese.

Then within the marsh, here and there, true swamp crawls into low-lying bogs, hidden in clammy forests. Swamp water is still and dark, having swallowed the light in its muddy throat. Even night crawlers are diurnal in this lair. There are sounds, of course, but compared to the marsh, the swamp is quiet because decomposition is cellular work. Life decays and reeks and returns to the rotted duff; a poignant wallow of death begetting life.

On the morning of October 30, 1969, the body of Chase Andrews lay in the swamp, which would have absorbed it silently, routinely. Hiding it for good. A swamp knows all about death, and doesn’t necessarily define it as tragedy, certainly not a sin. But this morning two boys from the village rode their bikes out to the old fire tower and, from the third switchback, spotted his denim jacket.


The morning burned so August-hot, the marsh’s moist breath hung the oaks and pines with fog. The palmetto patches stood unusually quiet except for the low, slow flap of the heron’s wings lifting from the lagoon. And then, Kya, only six at the time, heard the screen door slap. Standing on the stool, she stopped scrubbing grits from the pot and lowered it into the basin of worn-out suds. No sounds now but her own breathing. Who had left the shack? Not Ma. She never let the door slam.

But when Kya ran to the porch, she saw her mother in a long brown skirt, kick pleats nipping at her ankles, as she walked down the sandy lane in high heels. The stubby-nosed shoes were fake alligator skin. Her only going-out pair. Kya wanted to holler out but knew not to rouse Pa, so opened the door and stood on the brick-’n’- board steps. From there she saw the blue train case Ma carried. Usually, with the confidence of a pup, Kya knew her mother would return with meat wrapped in greasy brown paper or with a chicken, head dangling down. But she never wore the gator heels, never took a case.

Ma always looked back where the foot lane met the road, one arm held high, white palm waving, as she turned onto the track, which wove through bog forests, cattail lagoons, and maybe—if the tide obliged—eventually into town. But today she walked on, unsteady in the ruts. Her tall figure emerged now and then through the holes of the forest until only swatches of white scarf flashed between the leaves. Kya sprinted to the spot she knew would bare the road; surely Ma would wave from there, but she arrived only in time to glimpse the blue case—the color so wrong for the woods—as it disappeared. A heaviness, thick as black-cotton mud, pushed her chest as she returned to the steps to wait.

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