I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher (Flatiron Books) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Migrations is a beautiful, heartbreaking, defiant literary fiction debut. While McConaghy has written SFF in the past, this work is something entirely new for her, and you could feel the passion and anger pouring off of every page. I’ve never read any of her SFF novels, but I might have to give them a go. Because the woman can really write.
“A life’s impact can be measured by what it gives and what it leaves behind, but it can also be measured by what it steals from the world.”
This is the story of a dying world, a near future where almost every wild animal has become extinct due to climate change and human interference at a catastrophic level. Franny Stone is bound and determined to follow what she believes will be the last mass migration of Arctic terns, even if it kills her. As the story progresses, and we learn more and more about what is driving her, Franny becomes more and more fascinating and sympathetic. The character development here was very well done, both in Franny and in the supporting cast. There were mystery elements I found intriguing. The prose was lovely. While the story often came across as preachy, the timeliness of it justifies McConaghy’s stance and vehemence.
I picked up this book right before Hurricane Laura hit my home in Louisiana. The storm was the worst in this area since 1856. A tree fell on my grandparents’ house as we looked on helplessly, unable to get to them because of the winds and unable to call them because all cell towers were down. My parents’ house, the home they’ve been building since before I was born, the home I spent my entire childhood in from birth to marriage, had a giant tree fall through it while we were inside and is looking like it’s beyond saving. I’m incredibly thankful that every member of my family made it through not only alive but unharmed. However, our lives here are forever changed.
Reading a story in which environmental issues were so tightly wound proved to be too much for me at the time. I did eventually pick it back up and finish it, but it was the opposite of a comfort. However, that was the author’s point, I think. McConaghy wasn’t trying to comfort, but to slap awake and call to arms before it’s too late. If that was her intent, she succeeded.
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