July 18, 2021

Migrations


Fiction
2020 Macmillan Audio
Read by Barrie Kreinik  
Finished on July 15, 2021
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Franny Stone has always been the kind of woman who is able to love but unable to stay. Leaving behind everything but her research gear, she arrives in Greenland with a singular purpose: to follow the last Arctic terns in the world on what might be their final migration to Antarctica. Franny talks her way onto a fishing boat, and she and the crew set sail, traveling ever further from shore and safety. But as Franny’s history begins to unspool—a passionate love affair, an absent family, a devastating crime—it becomes clear that she is chasing more than just the birds. When Franny's dark secrets catch up with her, how much is she willing to risk for one more chance at redemption?

Epic and intimate, heartbreaking and galvanizing, Charlotte McConaghy's Migrations is an ode to a disappearing world and a breathtaking page-turner about the possibility of hope against all odds.

After reading several glowing reviews by fellow bloggers, I couldn't wait to read Migrations. I recommended it to my book group (based on those reviews) and we chose to read it in August. Given that I don't read a lot during the summer, I decided to get a jump start and began listening early last week. I was surprised that it was such a quick listen and I finished well ahead of the August meeting.

I enjoyed the book once I settled into the alternating time periods, but I didn't love it as many of my friends did. None of the characters were especially likeable, but the premise of the tale was intriguing and I was eager to find out more about Franny. The timeline shifts were abrupt and I grew weary of the teasing out of details pertaining to Franny's prison sentence, but I kept reading, determined to find the beauty in the narrative. The big reveal at the end (which I guessed early on) wasn't at all surprising, but it didn't spoil the story to know it in advance. 

Barrie Kreinik does a wonderful job with the narration of the audiobook. Her pacing and accents are spot on, which made for an enjoyable listening experience.

I'm looking forward to my book group discussion. Maybe then, after further consideration, I'll bump my rating up to 4-stars. At this point, while I can recommend the book, it's not going to hit my Top Ten list for the year. 

20 comments:

  1. Yes I think Barrie Kreinik read it well for the audio. I was swept up in Franny's boat journey. It's a bit mysterious and involves some trauma. I hope you have a good group discussion with it. I probably liked it more than you did but I know it's not for everyone. It's a bit dark right? I am looking forward to the author's second novel coming in August ...

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    1. Susan, there were parts about the boat journey that fascinated me (and I kept thinking that my husband would enjoy those sections of the novel), but yes. I think you liked it better than I did. I didn't mind the darkness, but just didn't care a whole lot for Franny or the mystery of her backstory.

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  2. Sorry this one didn't work better for you but I hope your group enjoys it. The audio worked well for me and I couldn't wait to find out more about Franny's past. Such a dark story overall though.

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    1. Diane, I'm really looking forward to the discussion and since I'm leading it, I'm eager to do some research on the author and her novel.

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  3. I can see that the unlikeable nature of the characters might lessen the impact of the story. For me, the story read like a look into the future, and that future feels more and more like a time that is not far away.

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    1. Deb, I came across an article in the OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) website today about how thousands of birds are facing a dry year at the Klamath Basin refuges. I haven't yet read the article, but I immediately thought of the diminishing birds and animals in Migrations. Sadly, I agree that that future is not far away.

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  4. I've had this on my radar for a while now. I'll be curious to hear how your book club reacts... and whether you decide to bump up your rating.

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    1. Oh, I thought you had read it, JoAnn. I'll keep you posted. :)

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  5. I'm still interested in it, but maybe not as eager as previously. On the other hand, a good discussion can make a book more than its original impression.

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    1. Jenclair, so many readers loved the book. I wish I had, but it was still worthwhile. Just not one I'm raving about.

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  6. This was on my list for ages. I was going to pitch it to my club when it first came out but hesitated because like you, some other bloggers didn't care for the characters all that much.

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    1. Ti, I'll try to remember to follow-up after my book group meeting and let you all know what their impressions were. I have a feeling it'll be a good discussion.

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  7. It'll be so interesting to see how your discussion goes. Sometimes when I'm on the fence about a book after a discussion I really can go either way. I kind of like the sound of this one so I'd check it out.

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    1. Iliana, I'm the same way with book discussions. I usually wind up liking a book even more after a book group meeting, so maybe this will get a higher rating. This was definitely worthwhile.

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  8. I think it's tough when a book is hyped by so many bloggers and our expectations are, perhaps, too high. I just finished a book in that category that didn't really work for me, but that others have really liked.

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    1. Helen, I've run into a lot of books like that lately. I have a dozen books waiting to be read and I hope they haven't been overhyped!

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  9. I keep seeing Kristen Hannah on blogs but I've yet to try her books. There are so many around the house! I am trying to read what I have but then I see so many great reviews or a book which intrigues....

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    1. Tina, I assume this comment was for the Angel Falls review I posted (and wound up here on Migrations). No worries. I would definitely skip this early novel of Kristen Hannah's, but I loved The Nightingale, so you might want to start with that one.

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  10. I didn't love this one either. Franny was hard to sympathize with, and the back and forth between time periods was exhausting. She has a new book coming out — something about wolves — that I ordered from Book of the Month. Sounded intriguing, so I'll give her another chance. :-)

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    1. Diana, I agree that Franny was difficult to sympathize with. I'm not sure I'll read McConaghy's next book since this one wasn't one I loved. We'll see...

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