Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

4 Stars – Worth it!

I can’t remember the last time a book had me looking so closely at my shower curtain.  To be fair, the curtain is a global map and throughout “Migrations” I tried to track Franny’s journey through ice, mystery, global warming and murder.

“Migrations” by Charlotte McConaghy is one wild ride into the wild, quite literally. It tells the story of one woman’s journey to internal redemption through her obsession with arctic terns on the verge of extinction.  McConaghy sets this adventure in the near distant future and weaves Franny Stone’s past and present flawlessly.  The pacing of this book is impecabile.  I am not always a fan of flashback, interwoven narratives, but McConaghy uses the form to its best advantages.  The lyricism of the writing met the harshness of the situations and I found myself getting lost in the gritty reality of life’s violence, human and nature’s upon the bodies and minds of this world’s characters.

A mystery hangs over Franny, which unravels through the course of the narrative, but what I found intriguing was the mysteries that surrounded all the characters and their lives, history and longings.  Much like in life, we aren’t given the entire picture of these characters but you care about them, even though much is left unsaid and unknown.  There is an ambiguity or nebulous quality to the various relationships Franny engages in that mirrors that of most humanity.

McConaghy packs this narrative with environmental and ecological truths that our world and creation is facing and highlights them through the heart and longings found in everyday human relationships.  I didn’t fully connect with Franny or any of the characters as they were aloof and had many unlikeable qualities.  They were realistic characters, with complex motivations, demons and story arches .  I just didn’t like any of them.  McConaghy made an appropriate creative choice that I can appreciate, I just wanted to like them all more.

A book absolutely worth your time and attention particularly if you like ecological speculative fiction or a good mystery. 

Happy Reading

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