Migrations Will Take You on a Journey

A life’s impact can be measured by what it gives and what it leaves behind, but it can also be measured by what it steals from the world.

Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In Summary of Migrations

“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?” -Goodreads Synopsis

WARNING: suicide, sexual assault, death

READ IF YOU LIKE: environmental fiction, sailing/boats, the ocean, birds, Once There Were Wolves, contemplative and pro-conservation themes, characters going on personal/self-seeking journeys

PositivesNegatives
Environmental fiction presents heavy, hard-hitting themes that are relevant to our current worldMany secondary characters that either didn’t have much purpose to the story or didn’t have their stories wrapped up nor reconciliation found; many names to remember
Detailed, lyrical writing will have you swooningProtagonist (Franny) is annoying and untrustworthy at times, based on her flightiness within relationships
The relationship between Franny and Ennis (father-like figure), as well as other crew membersQuiet, indirect writing sometimes leaves readers with holes in understanding

It isn’t fair to be the kind of creature who is able to love but unable to stay.

The Review

If you are looking for a light, upbeat novel, this is not the novel for you.

Okay, that sounds a bit harsh… but this book has darker, deeper themes and a yearning for a better world. Although beautifully written in poetic prose, it leaves readers feeling both hopeful and empty at the same time. However, it is hard to not feel such conflicting emotions when faced with the current state of our global environment.

Migrations is also not fast-paced; it is slow. Environmental fiction often takes a longer time to set up the premise and environmental issues accurately and appropriately, but Migrations doesn’t really pick up pace. Plus, the romance is rocky, just as Franny’s search for the Arctic terns becomes. If you are fine with slow, contemplative novels, then this is your next read!

The secondary characters added depth to the story for me. I loved getting to know various members of the crew that Franny joins, no matter how disgruntled and coarse they may appear. I would’ve appreciated seeing even more to the side characters’ stories, as well as reconciliation among them. For Franny – the poster child of “wanderlust” – the family she finds in her crew is especially important to her development as a protagonist. Franny is flighty and untrustworthy in terms of being a partner within a relationship, so the love amongst her and the crew allows readers to find redeeming qualities in her. (*Thank God*)

Take your time with Migrations – it’s the only way you will do this book justice. It is a beauty, though, and worthy of every minute you spend with it.

*While Migrations is a good book, I highly recommend McConaghy’s newest work of environmental fiction: Once There Were Wolves, which I’ve previously reviewed.

Migrations Book Information

  • Published: 2020
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books
  • ISBN:  9781250204028
  • Format: Hardback
  • Length: 256 pages

Learn About & Support the Author – Charlotte McConaghy

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