We have never needed a book more than "Migrations", in 2020.
....during the crescendo of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We're taken on a fascinating, ethical & emotional journey-
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods. There is rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar"
With clear and unflinching prose, this startling story is a page turning testimony to the power of love.
"Her name was Franny Stone at birth. Her Irish mother gave birth to her in a small Australian town where she'd been left, broke, and alone.
Eventually they moved to Galway, Iceland where she spent the first decade of her life".
Franny had a dream - foolish fantasy she called it - of securing a place on a fishing vessel - having a captain carry her as far south as possible, to be able to follow the migration of a bird-the longest natural migration of any living creature.
Franny's first week in Greenland:
"I've been out here on my own for six days. My tent was blown into the sea last night, as wind and rain lashed it from around my body. I've been pecked on the skull and hands more than a dozen times by birds who have been named the most protective in the sky".
"I pause on the crest of the hill to look once more, and the wind calms a moment. The eye spreads wide and dazzling, edged by a black-and-white ocean and a distant gray horizon. Great shards of cerulean ice floats languidly by, even now within the heart of summer. And dozens of Arctic terns fill the white of the sky and earth. The last of them, perhaps in the world. If I were capable of staying anyplace, it might be here. But the birds won't stay, and neither will I".
Franny walks through Tasiilaq, Greenland. It's hilly and lovely with colorful houses perched on the uneven terrain.
"The sky is the sky is a sky, and yet here, somehow, it's more. It's bigger".
She sits and watches icebergs floating through the fjord while thinking about 'the tern'.
The terns nest along the coast but will fly south soon all the way to Antarctica. She was studying the migratory patterns of the Arctic tern, looking specifically at what climate change has done to their flight habits. It's what was killing the fish.
"Nobody needs to be told of the extension of the animals; for years now we've been watching news bulletins about habitat destruction and species after species being declared first endangered and then officially extinct. There are no more monkeys in a wild, no chimps or apes or gorillas, nor indeed any animal that once lived in rainforest. The big cats of the savannas haven't been seen in years, nor have any of the exotic creatures we once went on Safari to glimpse".
If there were any fish left in the ocean, the birds would find them.
Franny was on a mission- traveling on a vessel in Greenland with a colorful crew of men and women-( she begged to tag along with the crew on 'The Saghani'), offering to work for free.
"The crew didn't really want Franny there. But she loved every second of the backbreaking laborious eighteen hour days. She had never been more exhausted in her life, but it was perfect. It meant she would sleep".
The mystery of why Franny had sleep challenges ....will unfold slowly as we learn more about abandonment issues from her past, and the other memories than haunt her.
Highly original-messy, tragic, atmospheric and endlessly inventive.....
An utterly engrossing read- by the phenomenally talented Charlotte McConaghy.
A BRILLIANT ACHIEVEMENT...I hope to get a physical copy ... as this was one of the most remarkable and memorable books I've read this year.
Huge thanks to Flatiron Books for this advance copy ( I honestly can't say thank you enough), Netgalley ( thanks for all the work you do to support authors and diehard readers),
soooo much appreciation to author Charlotte McConaghy: you're incredible. I'll read anything you write again.
DEEPLY EMOTIONALLY MOVING.....the book you want to scream to everyone you know: "READ IT"!