For readers of Station Eleven and Everything I Never Told You, a novel set on the brink of catastrophe, as a young woman chases the world’s last birds – and her own final chance for redemption.
A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive.
How far would you go for love? Irish-Australian Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.
Set in the not too distant future, climate change is no longer an argument but something we’re all aware off. It has shaped a new world and a mass extinction of animals is taking place. As animal populations plummet and commercial fishing faces prohibition, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew travel further from shore and safety, the dark secrets of Franny’s life begin to unspool. A daughter’s yearning search for her mother. An impulsive, passionate marriage. A shocking crime. Haunted by love and violence, Franny must confront what she is really running towards – and from.
I read a lot of good books, and some truly great books. Once in a while something comes along that transcends even those. The Last Migration is one such book; a once in a while read that satisfies my search for something profound, moving and emotionally rewarding. It is a wild, gripping and deeply moving novel from a brilliant writer. Charlotte McConaghy has worked in script development for film and television for several years and has written a number of speculative fiction books, but The Last Migration is her first literary novel. Her writing background has served her well here; from her opening words, “The animals are dying. Soon we will be alone here,” I felt I was in the hands of that rare writer, and I allowed myself to be swept up into this exquisitely written story.
The book has a dreamy quality, and Franny is an unreliable narrator, which adds to this. She’s complex – a mix of strength and fragility. She has a deep affinity to birds, which brings a mythical, magical quality to the tale.
The setting looms large, through dangerous ocean conditions, even as the story shifts in time. From the west coast of Ireland to Australia and remote Greenland, through crashing Atlantic swells to the bottom of the world, this is an ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened, and an epic story of the possibility of hope against all odds.
The Last Migration is haunting, heartbreaking yet still hopeful. It’s one of the best books of 2020 for me. I loved it.