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Migrations, Charlotte McConaghy

An impressive Australian writer whose American debut. A wonder of a book about the fate of extinction in the not-so-distant future based around a woman following the ocean’s tides and the arctic terns as they fly from Greenland to Antarctica. Her destructive compulsion on everyone and everything… as she wants to hurt herself for her sins, her past, her life. She looks toward the clues to life that are hidden everywhere. She has decided when she reaches Antarctica and the migration is finished, to kill herself. She smokes at times because the poison of it feels good in her lungs; it feels damaging. This is what we’re dealing with. She gets a captain of a small fishing boat in Greenland to agree to her her onboard and follow the birds so he can have the one last big catch. By this time it’s evident that soon there will be no fish remaining. We continually jump back and forth between her relationship with a world-famous conservationist and professor, her time in prison for the murder of two people, and her complicated relationship with her family. She always waiting for someone to smash her to bits, to do the wrecking so she almost doesn’t have to do it herself… to be free of this life. She knows there will be no more journeys after this one, no more oceans explored, which in a sense brings her calm. Her life has been a migration without a destination, and that in itself is senseless. The arctic terns give her a purpose until the end. The arctic terns have the longest migration of any animal in the world from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back again. Is there meaning in death, ever? Are we left only to adaptation, the requirement, as opposed to one’s nature as in the birds? It’s in our nature too.. our actions. Can Fanny only just let go of all the shame. Not to be ashamed of what she is, who she is. Will she reach Antarctica? How will the crew of the Saghanni help get here there? Will she say her goodbyes.. to her loved ones and herself? Moving and hauntingly good, I thank Charlotte.


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