For readers of Station Eleven and Flight Behavior, a debut novel set on the brink of catastrophe, as a young woman chases the world’s last birds - and her own final chance for redemption.
A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive.
Franny Stone has always been a wanderer. By following the ocean’s tides and the birds that soar above, she can forget the losses that have haunted her life. But when the wild she so loves begins to disappear, Franny can no longer wander without a destination. She arrives in remote Greenland with one purpose: to find the world’s last flock of Arctic terns and follow them on their final migration. She convinces Ennis Malone, captain of the Saghani, to take her onboard, winning over his salty, eccentric crew with promises that the birds she is tracking will lead them to fish.
As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s new shipmates begin to realize that the beguiling scientist in their midst is not who she seems. Battered by night terrors, accumulating a pile of letters to her husband, and dead set on following the terns at any cost, Franny is full of dark secrets. When the story of her past begins to unspool, Ennis and his crew must ask themselves what Franny is really running toward—and running from.
Propelled by a narrator as fierce and fragile as the terns she is following, Migrations is a shatteringly beautiful ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened. But at its heart, it is about the lengths we will go, to the very edges of the world, for the people we love.
Franny Stone was never able to stay in one place for very long. Even as a child, she yearned to fly free just like the birds of her dreams. Maybe, it was the pain of being abandoned by her mother or perhaps it was the cold indifference she was shown by the grandmother who raised her, she only knew she never wanted to stop running. Until the day that she met Professor Niall Lynch.
She would secretly watch him give impassioned lectures that detailed the devastation that humans so cruelly caused the Earth’s wildlife from the very back of the auditorium. And she couldn’t stop thinking that he was the most enchanting creature that she had ever encountered.
It should have been impossible for the talented professor to fall in love with the simple girl. All it really took was one kiss in a greenhouse and she knew whatever heart she had belonged only to Niall. Building a life together calmed her restless soul for a time. But the peace that she found disappeared just like his beloved Arctic terns.
All that Franny’s left with is her soul crushing guilt and her dreams of death. With the help of the crew aboard the Saghani, she has one last journey to make. A journey to fulfill a promise and to keep the precious birds from disappearing forever.
But there won’t be any more journeys after this one, no more oceans explored. And maybe that’s why I am filled with calm. My life has been a migration without a destination, and that in itself is senseless. I leave for no reason, just to be moving, and it breaks my heart a thousand times, a million. It’s a relief to at last have a purpose. I wonder what it will feel like to stop. I wonder where we go, afterward, and if we are followed. I suspect we go nowhere, and become nothing, and the only thing that saddens me about this is the idea of never seeing Niall again. We are, all of us, given such a brief moment of time together, it hardly seems fair. But it’s precious, and maybe it’s enough, and maybe it’s right that our bodies dissolve into the earth, giving our energy back to it, feeding the little creatures in the ground and giving nutrients to the soil, and maybe it’s right that our consciousness rests. The thought is peaceful.
In Migrations, Charlotte McConaghy lays down an emotionally savage landscape upon where all the Earth’s wildlife is on the very edge of extinction and a lonely girl searches for redemption.
Franny is a character that is utterly fragile despite her fiercely independent veneer. The heartache that she endures throughout her life seems almost unbearable at times and it’s chilling to watch her unravel right along with the story. But it’s her longing for love and her regret that touched my heart the most.
When all of this is combined with Charlotte’s compelling and atmospheric prose, the result is a story that is so tragically gorgeous that it will be etched in my mind for years to come…
Because it seems to me, suddenly, that if it’s the end, really and truly, if you’re making the last migration not just of your life but of your entire species, you don’t stop sooner. Even when you’re tired and starved and hopeless. You go farther.