Book Club Reflections
Stark. Heartbreaking. Imminent.
Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations is a literary wonder that is simultaneously beautiful and overwhelmingly heartbreaking.
Set in a world where most of the wildlife are extinct, Franny Stone, our main character, is on a quest to find a fishing vessel that will help her follow the lengthy, arduous, and likely final migration of three Arctic terns to Antarctica. The terns’ survival looks bleak, mirroring Franny’s outlook on life and the future of their/our planet. Aboard the Saghani, Franny becomes part of a motley crew of characters who, out of necessity, are reliant on one another as they face the stark and turbulent landscape of the sea.
One question from our Book Banter bookmark that we kept revisiting during our conversation was, “How does this story make you feel?” Migrations is not for the faint of heart. This is a story that will move you, depress you, and stay with you.
While reading, each one of us recognized that we needed to stop and remind ourselves that this world is not our world… Yet. Using fiction, McConaghy is able to broach our current environmental crisis in a way that is, perhaps, more palatable than non-fiction, but is arguably more heartbreaking.
This isn’t a story where readers have to suspend disbelief (like a zombie apocalypse), it’s a story that is more imminent than we’d like to believe.
"That in our self-importance, in our search for meaning, we have forgotten how to share the planet that gave us life."
"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."