This book read like a landscape - something you'd think would be cliche, and yet you are struck dumb by the masterpiece. It broke my heart, it made me giddy; I felt deeply connected to this wandering woman pursuing her awe. The world where she lives, where every animal is accelerating towards extinction, is a grim portrait of a future that is closer than we realize. The characters are vivid and lovable portraits of the people most affected by this destruction; on both sides of the conservation debate. — Katelynne Shimkus
A beautifully lyrical, yet raw, novel about migrations in people, time, and the environment. Humans are very good at hurt, causing it and feeling it, and this novel explores some of the ways we relate badly to each other and the damage we cause. Paralleled throughout is the, possibly last, migration of a flock of arctic terns, and the immense strength they must have to do so, albeit an unconscious one, an innate drive to stay on their designated track, whereas the human struggle is always a choice, although learned habits may make it seem less so. A compelling read. — Becky Doherty
Franny Stone, the main character in Charlotte McConaghy's sensational first novel, is on a journey. She is following what may be the last migration of the world's last arctic terns aboard one of the world's last commercial fishing vessels. Much more than a novel about environmental catastrophe, Migrations is about a woman trying to understand where she came from, who she is, and why she has always relentlessly wandered. A perfect literary page-turner. — Stan Hynds
“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
"Transporting" (New York Times) · "Hopeful" (Washington Post) · "Powerful" (Los Angeles Times) · "Thrilling" (TIME) · "Tantalizingly beautiful" (Elle) · "Suspenseful" (Vogue) · "Aching and poignant" (Guardian)
For fans 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 track 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 will lead them to fish.
As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s dark history begins to unspool. Battered by night terrors, accumulating a pile of unsent letters, and obsessed with pursuing the terns at any cost, Franny is full of secrets. When her quest threatens the safety of the entire crew, Franny must ask herself what she is really running toward—and running from.
Propelled by a narrator as fierce and fragile as the terns she is following, Charlotte McConaghy's 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.
A Most Anticipated Book (Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Time, Vulture, Elle, Good Morning America, Harper's Bazaar, Newsweek, The Millions, Library Journal, Maclean's, and more)
“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.”
“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 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.”