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.
“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
“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
“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.”—The Guardian
"[A] tantalizingly beautiful epic."—Elle
“You can practically hear the glaciers cracking to pieces and the shrill yelps of the circling terns.”—Vulture
“Suspenseful, atmospheric . . . As much a mystery as an odyssey.”—Vogue
"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."—Harper's Bazaar
“An exceptional novel that is both elegy and page-turning thriller.”—Maclean’s Magazine
"An ode to our disappearing natural world."—Newsweek
"Gorgeous . . . A personal reckoning that cuts right to the heart. This beautiful novel is an ode—if not an elegy—to an endangered planet and the people and places we love.”—Literary Hub
“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.”—Shelf Awareness
"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
“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] 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)
Reviews from Goodreads
The animals are dying. Soon we will be alone here.
Once, my husband found a colony of storm petrels on the rocky coast of the untamed Atlantic. The night he took me there, I didn’t know they were some of the last of their kind....