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A Novel

by Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy X
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2020, 272 pages

    Jul 2021, 288 pages


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There are currently 52 reader reviews for Migrations
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Charla Wilson

Heartbreaking and terrifying!
This book has almost five thousand 5 star reviews on Amazon, so I’m not sure if there is anything left for me to say. Although, it is such a sad story on many different levels, it is a great story that keeps you glued to I until the end. Franny, the protagonist and she is a very complicated person to say the least. She’s hell bent on following the last Arctic Terns to what is likely their last migration to the Antarctic. She has convinced a fish boat captain and his motley crew to help her.

As the story unfolds it becomes clear that Franny is looking for more than the birds. She’s trying to find herself! She’s also spent time in prison and the reason for that also becomes clear as the story unfolds. It is terrifying to me that our world could be heading for the same problems in this book. Such as all of the animals becoming extinct! This story is so very sad and yet you will not be able to put it down.
Rosemary K.

Another World/Bleak, yet Haunting
This book is mysterious; it is brilliantly written.

I was immediately intrigued by the initial basis--that animals are gradually disappearing. When the focus turned to birds, I was intrigued by the resultant soundless atmosphere that would remain.

Because my personal knowledge about birds is rather slim, I was fascinated by the various facts shared--especially, for instance, about what a great distance might be experienced during a migration.

I enjoyed the various characters--I had no trouble sorting them out because the author personalized them so well.

I will be buying a few copies of this book to give as presents this Christmas. I commend Charlotte McConaghy on her beautiful work. I appreciate that I received the chance to read it because of BookBrowse.
Donna Mc

An extraordinary read
Franny is one with the sea and with birds. She lives in a world apart, deeply intense but also deeply damaged. This is a wonderful book, beautifully written. Its understanding and reverence of wildlife will resonate with any bird lover, and the obsessions that drive her speak to anyone who has been touched watching migrating birds depart.
Power Reviewer

I've found way too many highly rated books not nearly as good as their reviews. Migrations is exactly the opposite. One of the few books I've been unable to put down this year. Charlotte McConaghy is a writer to watch.

Very good.
Power Reviewer
Cloggie Downunder

brilliant novel.
“I lie in the sea and feel more lost than ever, because I’m not meant to be homesick, I’m not meant to long for the things I have always been so desperate to leave. It isn’t fair to be the kind of creature who is able to love but unable to stay.”

The Last Migration is the first adult literary fiction book by Australian author, Charlotte McConaghy. A dire near future, a world of mass extinctions, oceans almost empty of fish: Franny Lynch boards a fishing vessel in Tasiilaq to follow her tagged bird, one of perhaps the very last Arctic terns, on its long migration south.

Under harsh conditions of extreme cold, wild storms and a tense relationship with the crew who seem to barely tolerate her, Franny’s mind cannot avoid forays into her troubled past: parental abandonment, a fervent love, heart-breaking tragedies, grief and incarceration.

Franny Lynch comes from a line of women possessed of wanderlust, but she meets the one man with whom this need not spell disaster: “I rest my head on his shoulder; I rest myself in his hands. It seems a safe place to be kept, even to belong. But where does he get to belong. What crueller fate is there than to belong in the arms of a woman who dies each night?”

But now she makes the journey, selecting this reticent sea captain, Ennis Malone, convincing him to take her along, promising the thing he wants most. She watches the crew: “Even though they are as varied as a group of people can be, I can tell they are all the same, all of these sailors. Something was missing in their lives on land, and they went seeking the answer. Whatever it was, I don’t doubt that they each found it. They are migrants of land, and they love it out here on an ocean that offered them a different way of life…”

What could possibly underlie a determination so single-minded, so all-consuming that this conservation-minded woman can set aside what seems a clear conflict of interest to board a vessel whose captain is equally obsessed with securing the Golden Catch? As the story jumps from present to past and back, McConaghy gradually introduces snippets of Franny’s life that coalesce to form a heart-breaking picture. The resulting “aah” moment will have even the most callous reader choking up with tears.

McConaghy gives the reader gorgeous prose, marvellous characters, some extremely topical subject matter, plenty of emotion and a smidgen of hope. A map would have enhanced the enjoyment of this brilliant novel.

So Many Layers!
I love a novel that defies my expectations and takes me on a journey. Migrations has so many layers and explores so many themes, and yet the author masterfully ties everything together in a hauntingly beautiful tale. Franny is a character unlike any other, she is a "wanderer", unable to settle herself anywhere. She is searching for answers and for closure. She craves family but cannot stay, she has obsessions, she is hopeful and she despairs. The ending was a surprise and left me with hope. There are many characters and they are all well developed. This is a very thought provoking, unique novel with many important themes and much sub-context. It is perfect for book clubs!
Margaret H. (Springfield, VA)

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.

Beyond the Book:
  The Arctic Tern

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