A family “curse” has made Franny a perpetual wanderer; and thus, she never stays in one place for long. Even as a child, she loved birds, mostly crows, but now she decides to track the last few migrating Arctic terns. Against all odds, she convinces the captain of a fishing vessel, Ennis, to let her become part of his crew.

Fanny promises the captain that if follows the arctic tern’s flight path he will earn his largest catch of fish yet. The novel is set at a time of ecological disaster when nearly all animals, including fish, are on the brink of extinction. This “golden catch” would give Ennis a chance to redeem himself in his family’s eyes or so he says.

The maritime trip to Antarctica also gives Franny a chance at redemption. Though she tells them she is a scientist tracking the arctic terns for scientific research, Franny harbors a huge secret which is only gradually divulged. Migrations offers a startling portrait of highly complex character who is unimaginable brave and fiercely determined.

This is a novel that does not shy away from the largest questions and the most daunting topics: animal instincts, madness, desire, survival.

McConaghy’s latest novel also involves wildlife, Once There Were Wolves.

Chantal W.