Review: Migrations

“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.”  

Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
254 pages
Genre: Fiction, environmental fiction
Published by Flatiron Books, 2020
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 
Reviewed by Indiana 

Synopsis from the publisher:

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.


This engrossing novel held so much within its relatively slim binding: adventure, tragedy, mystery, romance, and more. 

McConaghy does an excellent job of including all the necessary details; just enough so that one can see the near-future world she’s created, without overdoing it. She has also created a protagonist so layered and complex I would love to hear more of her story. 

While much of Franny’s experiences are beyond anything I’ve encountered, her wanderings and obsession with birds and the rapidly deteriorating wildlife populations are unexpectedly relatable. The way that McConaghy slowly unravels Franny’s past throughout the novel is incredibly well-done and surprising, even toward the latter parts of the novel where, as a reader, you think you’ve figured it all out. 

I’m already looking forward to McConaghy’s next book, called Once There Were Wolves, which it sounds like will be written in a similar vein.

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