Migrations: A Novel (Paperback)
August 2020 Indie Next List
“Imagine a world where almost all the animals have disappeared. Imagine a love strong enough to believe it can make a difference. In a fragile, near-future world, author Charlotte McConaghy gives us Franny Stone, a character as wild and broken as the few remaining Arctic terns she is determined to follow on what will most likely be their last migration. Franny’s quest is as epic as Captain Ahab’s, and while it leaves much destruction in its wake, it is ultimately a quest toward life. Migrations is a book so beautiful it will leave you breathless. Breathless with cold despair, and breathless with pulsating life and hope. This is a truly stunning debut.”
— Lisa Swayze, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY
A rich, deeply memorable debut from Aussie Charlotte McConaghy, Migrations tells multiple stories of a young woman, the Arctic Tern species and the slowly changed world without birds, fish and most other animals. Weaving in and out of Franny’s life is her complicated past life, her unorthodox marriage to ornithologist Niall and her constant self-doubt possibly bordering on madness. Set in Ireland, the Arctic and in the grand oceans of the world, the soothing calm, the violent storms and the vastness of the earth’s water ways also act as characters in this unforgettable, lyrical and beautifully crafted story. Be ready to stay with the book’s characters well beyond the final sentence. Stunning!
— From Staff Picks by Maureen
* INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER *
"Visceral and haunting" (New York Times Book Review) · "Hopeful" (Washington Post) · "Powerful" (Los Angeles Times) · "Thrilling" (TIME) · "Tantalizingly beautiful" (Elle) · "Suspenseful, atmospheric" (Vogue) · "Aching and poignant" (Guardian) · "Gripping" (The Economist)
Franny Stone has always been the kind of woman who is able to love but unable to stay. Leaving behind everything but her research gear, she arrives in Greenland with a singular purpose: to follow the last Arctic terns in the world on what might be their final migration to Antarctica. Franny talks her way onto a fishing boat, and she and the crew set sail, traveling ever further from shore and safety. But as Franny’s history begins to unspool—a passionate love affair, an absent family, a devastating crime—it becomes clear that she is chasing more than just the birds. When Franny's dark secrets catch up with her, how much is she willing to risk for one more chance at redemption?
Epic and intimate, heartbreaking and galvanizing, Charlotte McConaghy's Migrations is an ode to a disappearing world and a breathtaking page-turner about the possibility of hope against all odds.
Instant National Bestseller
#1 IndieNext Pick
A Best Book of the Year (TIME, Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, Goodreads, and more)
A Los Angeles Times Book Club Pick
“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.”
“Gripping…By merging cli-fi and nature writing, the novel powerfully demonstrates the spiritual and emotional costs of environmental destruction.”
“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 theheart. This beautiful novel is an ode—if not an elegy—to an endangered planetand 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 elegiac meditation on human and nonhuman loss...Immersive and haunting and quietly arresting.”
—Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation
“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.”