Migrations by Charlotte McCanaghy is a unique take on a character study with heavy elements of climate change. I'm not sure what other way to describe this one as a depressing, yet realistic depiction of what the world could become if humans do not start taking care of the earth better. Franny Stone is the main protagonist and sets out on a mission that both destroys and completes her, as well as sheds some hope on the future.
Franny Stone is both running from something and running to something. She arrives in Greenland and talks herself aboard a fishing vessel, in quest of the last band of artic turns that will soon be migrating. Franny's past begins to come out as she gets to know the others on the fishing vessel, as well as flashbacks from her previous life. She is as mysterious as the almost extinct birds she is tracking and she has a similar history of migration in her own life. Migrations is a story of the complexity of human life and how our choices affect the environment, both the physical Earth and the creatures that inhabit it, both animal and human. Migrations is a climate change story wrapped with a searing character study.
I'm having a hard time articulating my thoughts on Migrations. I'm not even sure how I would classify this book. Literary fiction seems to be the best fit, but there are also elements of futurism and politics that aren't that far from reality and there is no doubt this is a deep character study. Franny is complex and deeply troubled character. Her back story unravels as she travels on a chartered fishing boat to follow the last migration of arctic terns. Much like the birds, Franny herself cannot stay in one place for too long before she feels the desire to move on. The birds she is following so closely resemble her psyche and help her unravel her tragic past.
I started reading the physical version of this book, but found myself having a hard time getting into it so I switched to the audio. I highly recommend the audio because the narrator really brings Franny to life. This book is sad and slightly depressing, but with shreds of hope here and there. While this one wasn't an all time favorite of mine, I found the writing beautiful and the story thought provoking. If you are interested in aspects of climate change and like a strong character driven story, check out Migrations.
(I highly recommend the audiobook as the narrator is a perfect fit.)
“It isn’t fair to be the kind of creature who is able to love but unable to stay.”
“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.”