REVIEW: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
I can count on one hand the books that have brought me to tears: Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel, Our Daily Bread by Lauren B. Davis, and The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux are the ones that jump to mind, and the latter two titles I finished while flying on a plane - did you know that you're more likely to cry while flying?
That said, I was firmly on land when I finished reading Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy, and I fully sobbed at the end of this book. In some ways it's a devastating, heart-wrenching read, offering a surreal but yet too-real glimpse at a world suffering from the advanced effects of climate change, where wild animals have become mostly extinct.
Franny Lynch is following the last known group of Arctic terns as they make their migration from the Arctic circle to the Antarctic circle, one of the longest migrations of any animal. As Franny joins up with a fishing vessel - a widely controversial practice as ocean life has been decimated - her past begins to take shape, including a complicated and tragic family history, a deeply passionate love, and a mysterious stint in jail.
Through my tears, as the end of the book drew nearer and I thought that I already knew what would happen to Franny, where it seemed there would be no hope for this character and her world which had taken up residence in my heart and mind for days, a glimmer of hopefulness and resilience surfaced.
I was left rocked to my core. This is literary "cli-fi" at its best and brightest, and I hope this novel serves as a wake-up call for all who read it to be mindful of how we use resources here on Earth, and in our beating, loving hearts.