Publisher: Harper Perennial
Source: TLC Book Tours for review
Book Links: Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble
A powerful debut novel about a group of 30-somethings struggling for connection and belonging, Migratory Animals centers on a protagonist who finds herself torn between love and duty.
When Flannery, a young scientist, is forced to return to Austin from five years of research in Nigeria, she becomes torn between her two homes. Having left behind her loving fiancé without knowing when she can return, Flan learns that her sister, Molly, has begun to show signs of the crippling genetic disease that slowly killed their mother.
As their close-knit circle of friends struggles with Molly’s diagnosis, Flannery must grapple with what her future will hold: an ambitious life of love and the pursuit of scientific discovery in West Africa, or the pull of a life surrounded by old friends, the comfort of an old flame, family obligations, and the home she’s always known. But she is not the only one wrestling with uncertainty. Since their college days, each of her friends has faced unexpected challenges that make them reevaluate the lives they’d always planned for themselves.
A mesmerizing debut from an exciting young writer, Migratory Animals is a moving, thought-provoking novel, told from shifting viewpoints, about the meaning of home and what we owe each other—and ourselves.My thoughts:
This sounded like a character driven book and I was not disappointed. This is an exploration of a group of friends and how you cannot run away from your past, you can only deal with it. It's about life that will recycle old problems in new ways until you finally deal with what is in front of you. It deals with death, suicide, hard decisions, love, laughter and friendship. What I also loved about this novel is that the characters are a variety of those in the human race and not all are on the US continent. I really enjoyed characters with mixed heritage.
As you travel through this time period with the friends you only hope that good things come to them in the end. While that happens for some, it does not happen for all. However, it isn't a depressing book and all seem to be where they need to be for the next step in life. My only complaint is that we don't know what happens to Flannery (the person we both start and stop with in this book) in her love life but while I hate that, the ending did feel complete.
I give this book 4 stars. If you want something in character exploration with a cast that are as individual as the people you know, I recommend this book.
About the author:
Born and raised in Abilene, Texas, Mary Helen Specht has a B.A. in English from Rice University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College, where she won the department’s fiction award. Her writing has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and has appeared in numerous publications, including: The New York Times; The Colorado Review; Prairie Schooner; Michigan Quarterly Review; The Southwest Review; Florida Review; Southwestern American Literature; World Literature Today; Blue Mesa; Hunger Mountain; Bookslut; The Texas Observer; and Night Train, where she won the Richard Yates Short Story Award.
A past Fulbright Scholar to Nigeria and Dobie-Paisano Writing Fellow, Specht teaches creative writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.