2020 releases · fiction

Review: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

“My life has been a migration without a destination, and that in itself is senseless.”

Amazon.com: Migrations: A Novel (9781250204028): McConaghy ...This book has been on the periphery of my radar because it seemed like an interesting premise, but I was not sure if I was to pick it up. But then the lovely people at Libro.fm supplied me with an advanced listening copy, and I am so glad I decided to pick this book up, because I really ended up enjoying it.


I did not have very many expectations going into this book, but it really took me by surprise nonetheless. This story follows Franny, who is following the final migration of the Arctic terns, one of the few birds that are left on the Earth in this near-future setting, and she joins a crew of a fishing boat in order to track the birds. Her journey is a mesmerizing look into both a planet that is on the brink on the catastrophe and her own mental and emotional turmoil.

This book perfectly played into my own anxious feelings about the world and climate change. I feel like this book had what I wanted from Weather by Jenny Offill – I loved the musings on how we have ruined the planet and how we have affected nature, and how nature is resilient in spite of our constant ruination. Almost all the animals at the point in time when the novel is set are extinct, so this journey of the Arctic terns that Franny is following is at the same time a testament on how awful people have been to nature, but also of how nature is still fighting back. I really appreciated that dynamic.

This also leads me to the other big theme of this novel, and that’s Franny’s personal and emotional journey that is happening in parallel to the migration of the Arctic tern and that she sort of uses in order to work through her whole life basically. Franny is an unreliable narrator, which I always love reading about, and this book focuses on grief and love and loneliness and it’s a gut-wrenching kind of novel. Quiet, but with this haunting, melancholic thread throughout that really worked for me. When broken down to the bare bones, this is a very human story and I appreciated that a lot. Franny is a fantastic main character, easy to root for while still acknowledging her faults.

This book really left its mark on me and I loved all the emotions it made me feel. It’s sad, but it’s also very real. My one grievance with it is that I found the resolution of Franny’s past sort of underdeveloped and not really that original. Not that it should be, but I just felt like the book by the end went over some beats that were done a lot before, and it sort of lost me a bit towards the end. But I still loved it and it only slightly diminished my enjoyment.


I would highly recommend this novel! It’s an emotionally complex exploration of what it means to be human, and I really enjoyed it. Highly recommend the audiobook!



I would love to hear from you! Have you read this one yet or plan to? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, happy reading




*I received an advanced listening copy of this book from Libro.fm. All opinions are my own. 


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8 thoughts on “Review: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

  1. I’m intrigued by this one, since I’ve seen it around, and I hope I’ll get to it this year. Glad you enjoyed it ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh, interesting! This wasn’t on my radar yet but I’m very intrigued hearing that it gave you more of what you wanted from Offill’s Weather!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely more straightforward and less experimental (and less well written than Weather to be fair) but for me it hit the perfect balance between looking at the human condition and the condition of the world and the planet 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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