In her first adult literary fiction and her first U.S. publication, Australian author McConaghy offers a story of nature on the verge of collapse even as a young woman struggles with her past. As the novel opens, Franny Stone travels to Greenland so she can follow the world's last flock of Arctic terns on its final migration, talking her way onto a fishing vessel trolling for perhaps its last catch. Franny is forever on the move, suffering from perpetually fractured relationships and a sense of not belonging; she's a wanderer, like her Irish mother, who eventually left her to be raised by her paternal grandmother in faraway Australia, with her relationship with her absent ornithologist husband creating an edgy undercurrent throughout. The slow revelation of a tragedy for which Franny feels responsible adds a thrillerlike dimension to an already involving narrative made stronger by the absence of time markers; it could be taking place in two years or 20 years, but it could just as well be happening today. VERDICT A consummate blend of issue and portrait, warning and affirmation, this heartbreaking, lushly written work is highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 2/12/10.]—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
Instant National Bestseller
#1 IndieNext Pick
Amazon Spotlight Pick
Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
A Best Book of the Year (TIME)
“Visceral and haunting…As well as a first-rate work of climate fiction, Migrations is also a clever reimagining of Moby-Dick…This novel’s prose soars with its transporting descriptions of the planet’s landscapes and their dwindling inhabitants, and contains many wonderful meditations on our responsibilities to our earthly housemates…Migrations is a nervy and well-crafted novel, one that lingers long after its voyage is over.”
—The New York Times Book Review
"The beauty and the heartbreak of this novel is that it’s not preposterous. It feels true and affecting, elegiac and imminent...The fractured timeline fills each chapter with suspense and surprises, parceled out so tantalizingly that it took disciplined willpower to keep from skipping down each page to see what happens...In many ways, this is a story about grieving, an intimate tale of anguish set against the incalculable bereavements of climate change...Ultimately hopeful."
—The Washington Post
“An aching and poignant book, and one that’s pressing in its timeliness. It’s often devastating in its depictions of grief, especially the wider, harder to grasp grief of living in a world that has changed catastrophically…But it’s also a book about love, about trying to understand and accept the creatureliness that exists within our selves, and what it means to be a human animal, that we might better accommodate our own wildness within the world.”
“Powerful…Vibrant…Unique…If worry is the staple emotion that most climate fiction evokes in its readers, Migrations—the novelistic equivalent of an energizing cold plunge—flutters off into more expansive territory…McConaghy has a gift for sketching out enveloping, memorable characters using only the smallest of strokes… Migrations, rather than struggle to convince readers of some plan of environmental action, instead puts humans in their place.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Thrilling…In piecing together who this mysterious protagonist really is, McConaghy creates a detailed portrait of a woman on the cusp of collapse, consumed with a world that is every bit as broken as she is. Migrations offers a grim window into a future that doesn’t feel very removed from our own, which makes Franny’s voice all the more powerful. In understanding how nature can heal us, McConaghy underlines why it urgently needs to be protected.”
“A good nautical adventure…Migrations moves at a fast, exciting clip, motored as much by love for ‘creatures that aren’t human’ as by outrage at their destruction.”
—The Wall Street Journal
"[A] tantalizingly beautiful epic."
“You can practically hear the glaciers cracking to pieces and the shrill yelps of the circling terns.”
“Suspenseful, atmospheric…As much a mystery as an odyssey.”
"Gorgeous…A personal reckoning that cuts right to the heart. This beautiful novel is an ode—if not an elegy—to an endangered planet and the people and places we love.”
"At a time when it feels like we’re at the end of the world, this novel about a different kind of end of the world serves as both catharsis and escape."
"An ode to our disappearing natural world."
“Migrations is a gripping tale that ultimately celebrates the beauty and resilience of the creatures—human and animal—that endure.”
“An exceptional novel that is both elegy and page-turning thriller.”
“[Migrations] could be taking place in two years or 20 years, but it could just as well be happening today…A consummate blend of issue and portrait, warning and affirmation, this heartbreaking, lushly written work is highly recommended.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Transfixing, gorgeously precise…[The] evocation of a world bereft of wildlife is piercing; Franny’s otherworldliness is captivating, and her extreme misadventures and anguished secrets are gripping.”
—Booklist (starred review)
"Migrations is as beautiful and as wrenching as anything I've ever read. This is an extraordinary novel by a wildly talented writer."
—Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Glass Hotel and Station Eleven
"This novel is enchanting, but not in some safe, fairy-tale sense. Charlotte McConaghy has harnessed the rough magic that sears our souls. I recommend Migrations with my whole heart."
—Geraldine Brooks, author of The Secret Chord and March
"Migrations is a wonder. I read it in a gasp. There is hope in these pages; a balm for these troubled times. Charlotte McConaghy's words cut through to the bone."
—Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept
“An astounding meditation on love, trauma, and the cost of survival. A true force of a book that I read holding my breath from its start to its symphonic finish.”
—Julia Fine, author of What Should Be Wild
“Migrations is indeed about loss—but what makes it miraculous is that it is also about hope. Written in prose as gorgeous as the crystalline beauty of the Arctic, Migrations is deeply moving, haunting, and, yes, important.”
—Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World
“At times devastating and, at others, surprisingly, undeniably hopeful…Brimming with stunning imagery and raw emotion, Migrations is the incredible story of personal redemption, self-forgiveness and hope for the future in the face of a world on the brink of collapse.”
Narrator Barrie Kreinik's portrayal of a complicated woman struggling with personal tragedies is heartbreaking. Listeners follow Fanny Stone, an Irish ornithologist with a need to wander. The audiobook recounts Fanny's mission to follow migration patterns on the fishing boat she joins after convincing the captain she can contribute to the work of the crew. While on board, Fanny writes letters to her husband about her thoughts and experiences, revealing a layered backstory that brings a fuller meaning to Fanny's mission, including her search for her mother. Kreinik achieves something difficult here: Not only does she invite empathy for Franny, she also makes her entirely relatable as the larger meaning of her quest is revealed. Kreinik’s performance accentuates the power of the story. S.P.C. © AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine