Migrations, Charlotte McConaghy, Flatiron Books, 2020, 256 pp
This is the best novel I have read so far in 2021. The big idea behind the story is climate change. Set in the future, Earth's oceans are fished out, wild animals have all but disappeared, insects and birds are dwindling rapidly.
The culprits in all this demise are humans. Unless we can change our ways we will ourselves follow since we have decimated the very elements needed to survive. Thus it must be humans who populate the story.
Charlotte McConaghy had already published three sci fi/fantasy series in Australia prior to this international debut. She knows how to create awesome female characters so it is no surprise that Franny Stone, damaged and nearly broken, is also the heroine who drives this epic tale.
Able to love but unable to stay, her search for a way to heal the earth takes her on a journey to track the last Arctic Terns on their migration from Greenland to Antarctica. She finagles her way onto a fishing boat and then convinces its equally damaged and broken captain to take that journey. The opening chapter where Franny meets the captain and his crew is so gripping, I wondered where the author could go after that.
The answer is everywhere, from Ireland to Australia, on the high seas and into the human heart. All the while the mystery of Franny is gradually revealed. When a person has nothing more to lose, when she must engineer her own redemption, there are no limits to her daring.
The writing is at once cinematic and intensely personal. Never does the pace falter. On every page, I wanted desperately to know how the book would end. When it did, I wanted it to go on. I wanted to stay with Franny forever.