The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy review – aching, poignant and pressing debut

The dreamy, slippery novel melds adventure with climate fiction, as its protagonist follows the last remaining Arctic terns on their final migration amid mass extinction

• This piece is part of a new weekly series of Australian book reviews, funded by Copyright Agency

“The animals are dying. Soon we will be alone here.”

These two short statements – declarative, understated – open The Last Migration, Australian author Charlotte McConaghy’s debut novel. They work to set both the scene and the tone of the book: the novel is dreamy, elegiac, often heightened to the register of fairytales or myths; and it is set in a near future, where the effects of climate change have meant that the world’s animal life has almost completely died out.

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Related: Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan C Slaght review – an extraordinary quest

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