MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Migrations: Book summary and reviews of Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations

A Novel

by Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy X
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
  • Readers' rating:

  • Publishes in USA 
    Aug 25, 2020
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

For readers of Flight Behavior and Station Eleven, a novel set on the brink of catastrophe, as a young woman chases the world's last birds―and her own final chance for redemption.

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 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 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 she is full of dark secrets: night terrors, an unsent pile of letters, and an obsession with pursuing the terns at any cost. 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 both an ode to our threatened world and a breathtaking page-turner about the lengths we will go for the people we love.

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. The novel's epigraph is taken from a poem by Rumi: "Forget safety. / Live where you fear to live." How does that directive resonate throughout Franny's life? Do you think it's good advice?
  2. Discuss the novel's first lines: "The animals are dying. Soon we will be alone here." How does the disappearance of wildlife in mass extinctions shape the characters and plot? What are the similarities and differences between Franny's world and our own? Would you describe this novel as dystopian? Why or why not?
  3. Arctic terns have the longest natural migration of any animal, and during their lives they may travel the equivalent distance of to the moon and back three times. What do Arctic terns symbolize in the novel, and why are Franny and Niall...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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 Station Eleven

"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." - Shelf Awareness

"An astounding meditation on love, trauma, and the cost of survival. With soulful prose and deep empathy, McConaghy weaves parallel stories of a woman and a world on the brink of devastation, but never without hope. This is 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

"Set in a future when wildlife is rapidly becoming extinct, Migrations is indeed about loss―but what makes it miraculous is that it is also about both the glimpses of hope and the shattering persistence of love, if we are only brave enough to acknowledge them. 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

The information about Migrations shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Margaret H. (Springfield, VA)

Migrations
At first I thought it would be a light romance of a young girl and her professor, but it is much deeper than that. Instead it is a book of different themes. Yes, it is a strange romance where two people are often apart, but then it is a science warning about the disappearance of fish and the effect on fishermen, and finally it is a mystery as Franny searches for what happened to her mother. The two parallel stories of the missing reach a conclusion which maybe a sorprise to the reader. Besides being a mystery it is also a warning about what may be happening to our world. It is a hard book to put down once started.

Carol N. (San Jose, CA)

A "must" read...
I thoroughly enjoyed Charlotte McConaghy's gripping novel of redemption, love, and survival, "Migrations." In this time of forced sheltered in place isolation, I found by reading her astounding novel, I was finally able to break my "lack of concentration" cycle I found myself spiraling in with other books. This is story is about loss but it is also about hope as the protagonist, Franny tells her story of wildlife's disappearance from our earth. She follows the arctic terns as they travel from Arctic to the Antarctic. She persuades a captain and crew to let her join them and allow the birds to dictate the boat's course. As the story unfolds, the author takes the reader through Franny's harrowing search for the birds and her tormented past. Interlaced in this lyrical story are interesting characters that have their own action filled stories to share with the reader. This unique heart-wrenching story slowly pieces together why Franny is driven to follow the terns and will keep any reader engaged during the difficult days ahead.

Diana P. (Schulenburg, TX)

Migrations
This story is like a puzzle. Every now and then you get a piece of the puzzle. Then you start to put it together. It is very interesting and moving in so many ways and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in birds, climate change, tides and finding yourself.

Ann B. (Kernville, CA)

An enthralling debut novel set in a breathtaking future
This book. Like the birds its protagoniste is so determined to follow, it soars. Consider this sentence on the novel's second page: "The world around her has changed just a little, or a lot." Reading this novel in the midst of an actual pandemic gives it that much more gravity. But it needed no help in that, with or without the hovering of coronavirus. The prose is achingly gorgeous: "I wandered. Through cobbled streets or into paddocks, where long grass whispered hish as I passed between." The slow emergence of our main character, Franny, how the author lifts veil after veil to reveal her character, made me physically ache for her, while the author's attention to language makes the narrative that much more poetic, that much more enthralling. The laser-focus on nature, in all senses of the word, gives the book both a timeless and timely theme. I loved everything, every aching sentence, of this debut novel.

Gaye R. (Coupeville, WA)

Staying in Touch
Love and loss. Human family and the family of earth.
How does one embrace each of these?
Denial or acceptance? Avoidance or acknowledgement? Escape or engage? As Franny journeys through each of these stages and emotions of her life, she travels physically and passionately from north to south.
Migrations contains a wealth of topics-relationships, death, nature, environment and the most interesting to me, Arctic Terns-for any book group discussion.
When I rate a book 5 stars that means I plan to read it again. As soon as I share this engrossing novel with all my bookworm friends, I will be eagerly rediscovering Migrations.

Shey C. (Morristown, TN)

Fantastic Book!!!
I loved Migrations! Reading this book during the Covid-19 pandemic was very interesting. There are always two strong arguments in every controversy and it was interesting to read these points in the book and also seeing these points in relation to Covid. Throw in some beautiful language and Migrations is a hit! My favorite lines of the whole book are "We are wiping them out. Creatures that have learned to survive anything, everything, except us."
I think Migrations would be an excellent book club read. I think the best discussion books are ones in which people will naturally divide on an issue and have differing points of view. This book has enough back story that it will appeal to most readers. I read it in two days, earmarked a ton of pages and look forward to reading it again!

...35 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Charlotte McConaghy

Charlotte McConaghy is an author and screenwriter based in Sydney, Australia. Migrations is her U.S. debut.

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