102 pages 3 hours read

Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2018

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Prologue-Part 1, Chapter 4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “The Marsh”

Prologue Summary: (1969)

The narrator in the prologue contrasts the swamp, which is murky, and the marsh, which is airy and full of flying things. On October 30, the body of Chase Andrews turns up in the marsh outside of Barkley Cove.

Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary: “Ma” (1952)

In 1952, Catherine Danielle “Kya” Clark, a six-year-old girl, watches as her mother, Marie Jacques Clark (called “Ma”), walks away from the family’s shack for the last time. Her older brother Jodie assures her that mothers in the wild never leave their young for long, so Ma is likely to return. Kya doubts him. The Clark family lives in the marshland around Barkley Cove. The marsh is a no-man’s land populated with people too desperate or too shiftless to move on. It has its own laws.

The day before, Kya noticed bruising on her mother’s forehead, likely from blows from Jake Clark (her father, known as “Pa”). Although Kya waits for her mother to return, Ma doesn’t come back, and the family settles into a routine without her. 

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