The Last Migration is a wild, gripping and deeply moving novel from a brilliant young writer. From the west coast of Ireland to Australia and remote Greenland, through crashing Atlantic swells to the bottom of the world, this is an ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened, and an epic story of the possibility of hope against all odds.
Our protagonist, Franny Stone, clearly has some major issues going on her personal life, and we can see that she is using this search/hunt/journey to run away from her problems of perhaps find closure. However, McConaghy slowly reveals that her personal issues are actually interwoven into the plight of the migrating birds.
The story is quite angst-ridden and there were times when I wanted to shake Franny into a more sensible, rational frame of mind as she crashed from one scene to the next in her search for personal redemption. But then, I guess it can be hard to be sensible and rational when faced with the reality of a mass extinction of an entire species and the existential loneliness that this climate crisis implies for all of us!
There was a dreamy quality or an otherworldly aspect to this high seas adventure that held the urgency and dramatic tension of the sea voyage at bay. For this reader, they were a welcome relief from the harsh descriptions of life on a small boat in a big sea!
McConaghy references several other authors and poets throughout her book. They are books her characters have read or quote from. I'm always fascinated by this occasional tendency of authors and I like to make a list for future reference.
Here we Colm Toibin, Mary Oliver (and her poem on geese), Lord Byron, Edgar Allan Poe, Percy Shelley, John Keats, Margaret Atwood, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
I love the ending of Mary Oliver | Wild Geese in particular and share it below.Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
|US cover and title|
|German cover and title|
Forget safety.Live where you fear to live.
The entire passage reads: “Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.”
The animals are all dying. Soon we will be alone here.
there is meaning, and it lives in nurturing, in making life sweeter for ourselves, and for those around us.
#Australian Women Writers