Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

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 so 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 salty, 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 the beguiling scientist in their midst is not who she seems. Battered by night terrors, accumulating a pile of letters to her husband, and dead set on following the terns at any cost, Franny is full of dark secrets. 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.

Summary from Goodreads


Migrations is one of my favorite reads of 2020. It’s a beautifully told tale of unfathomable desire, a turbulent will seemingly set against every norm, and an apocalyptic, and all too real, portrait of what the world might look like when the animals truly start dying off.

Throughout it all, Franny acts as our guide, and her voice is one of the things I loved about this novel. Lyrical, desperate, determined, philosophical, self-loathing at times but willfully persistent, Franny’s voice lent to the story a sense of closeness between her and the reader. You begin to feel an emotional stake in the novel that I, personally, haven’t felt to such a degree as I did with Migrations.

This story will stay with me for a long time, and once it begins to fade, I will read it again. To say I enjoyed it seems not quite right; it’s more like it did something to me. Something difficult, but good.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves story, who loves animals, who loves to roam. I think this will speak to you.

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