The animals are dying. Soon we will be alone here. – Charlotte McConaghy The Last Migration
This week’s book snap is a gripping, beautiful read by young Australian author Charlotte McConaghy. I absolutely loved this wild novel about love and redemption and the destruction we are reeking on our planet and the other life we share it with. An amazing read, thrilling from the opening lines, a quest story, an obsession, a celebration and a eulogy to the natural world.
Franny’s desperation to track the last of the arctic terns brings her together with the last of the commercial fisherman and eloquently examines their shared loved of the natural world. This is a beautiful book that portrays the ugly truth we are facing, with compassion and understanding for all the protagonists. It is just simply a wonderful read, it draws you into the mystery of Fanny’s past and her desperate need to pursue the last of the arctic terns, those amazing birds with the longest migration in the animal world.
It presents an all to plausible scenario that in our not to distant future we could witness the end of almost all wild life, already we know sea bird populations have declined by 70% since the middle of the 20th century, (https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/seabirds-decline-population-fishing-industry-pollution-climate-change-birds-puffins-a8670736.html). Imagine a world without wildlife and where commercial wild fishing is forced to cease after we exhaust the oceans. McConaghy convincingly presents such a world and it provides the backdrop to her intensely human drama:
Once, my husband found a colony of storm petrels on the rocky coast of the untamed Atlantic. The night he took me there, I didn’t know they were some of the last of their kind. I knew only that they were fierce in their night caves and bold as they dived through moonlit waters.We stayed a time a time with them, and for those few dark hours we were able to pretend we were the same, as wild and free.
Once, when the animals were going , really and truly and not just in warnings of dark futures but now, right now, in mass extinctions we could see and feel, I decided to follow a bird over an ocean. Maybe I was hoping it would lead me to where they’d all fled, all those of its kind, all the creatures we thought we’d killed. Maybe I thought I’d discover whatever cruel thing drove me to leave people and places and everything, always. Or maybe I was hoping the bird’s final migration would show me, a place to belong.
Once, it was birds who gave birth to a fiercer me. (p3).
Published by penguin as The last migration here in Australia but also published in America simply as Migrations. This is a great read and I highly recommend it.
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