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Book Club

The Last Migration 

The Last Migration

Book Club Pick: The Last Migration



A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive. How far you would you go for love? Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica. As animal populations plummet and commercial fishing faces prohibition, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew travel further from shore and safety, the dark secrets of Franny's life begin to unspool. A daughter's yearning search for her mother. An impulsive, passionate marriage. A shocking crime.

Haunted by love and violence, Franny must confront what she is really running towards - and from. 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.


In this month’s gr Book Club, you had the chance to ask CHARLOTTE MCCONAGHY about her fascinating new book The Last Migration. Here’s what she said! Check out next month’s Book Club pick online and find out how you can get involved (and even win a prize!). 


The Last Migration is your first literary fiction novel. What inspired the change after your ‘Chronicles of Kaya’ series? 

The transition into literary fiction was one that felt natural to me, though not at all unchallenging. The Last Migration was a story that was very deeply embedded in me; it came from an instinctive, passionate place, and turned out to be the hardest thing I’d ever written. I think that challenge is incredibly important, though, because it hopefully means you’re doing something worthwhile. 

The book follows Franny Stone as she tracks the last migration of the Arctic terns – what inspired this setting?

I have always loved birds and when I learned about the Arctic terns and their extraordinarily long journey I was blown away. They fly from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back again in a year, and over the course of their lifetimes this means they will fly the equivalent distance the moon and back three times. This became a metaphor for the novel, for the courage it will take for humans in facing the loss of our wild animals, and the courage of Franny in taking on such an impossible journey. 

Tell us about Franny – how did you develop the personal (and literal) journey she goes on in the novel?

Her journey is one of both personal redemption and a quest to witness and help the last flock of Arctic terns, in turn helping in the fight against animal extinction. It’s a journey that begins from a place of hopelessness and self-punishment, but throughout the story, because of the connections she builds and the experiences she has, she is able to reclaim her hope, not only for the natural world but for herself, too. She is able to see the beauty that still remains in the world, and she’s inspired by it, which is what I hope readers will take from the book. 

You’ve also written extensively as a screenwriter – do you think The Last Migration would work as a film? How would you tweak it? 

Funnily enough, I’m actually in talks to sell the film rights now, so it may just become a film one day after all! I think it would work wonderfully because it’s already such a visual story, with amazing scenery, and there’s a physical journey which lend themselves to the screen. The challenge with adapting novels is always in how you dramatise the internal journey of the protagonists. How do you tell an audience what they’re thinking and feeling – without having them blurt it out in clumsy dialogue? Franny’s rich internal world would need to be brought to life somehow, and that might be visually or it might be in her actions or her interactions with other characters. 

The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy is published by Hamish Hamilton.

 Check out next month’s Book Club pick!

The Lying Life of Adults


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