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Mary Helen Specht

Migratory Animals

Mary Helen Specht Migratory Animals
$10.49 New
 
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Series:

P.S.

Main description:

When Flannery, a young scientist, is forced to return to Austin after five years of research in Nigeria, she becomes torn between her two homes. Having left behind her loving fiancé without knowing when she will return, Flannery learns that her sister, Molly, has begun to show signs of the 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: 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, all of her friends have 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.

Review quote:

“A beautifully precise group portrait in which Mary Helen Specht manages to capture not just a particular set of characters but a generational mood and moment. . . . Without forcing any answers, it asks a powerful, probing question: how should you behave when life suddenly gets real?”

Review quote:

“A finely wrought first novel. . . . Specht weaves fascinating details on snowflakes, weaving, birding, genetics and engineering, plus a spot-on-portrait of Austin.”

Review quote:

“A novel of tremendous scope and insight that succeeds both as an exploration of larger global concerns and an acute examination of the most intimate parts of our lives. Mary Helen Specht is a terrific writer -- passionate and generous, wry and insightful. A very moving debut.”

Review quote:

“An ambitious, highly accomplished debut. . . . Specht moves among a deep cast of characters and corresponding perspectives with absolute mastery. . . . Most important, and impressive, is Specht’s sure handling of the interior life.”

Review quote:

“An emotionally nuanced debut. . . . The men and women of Mary Helen Specht’s imagination inhabit a world of breathtaking vividness, where life’s pains and pleasures ripple through to marvelous effect. A heartbreaking, edifying, and resonant work of art.”

Review quote:

“In prose as quirky and elegant as its characters, Specht proves that -- after confusion, missteps, even denial -- a village can embrace you. . . . This big, dreamy novel flies by as swift as time.”

Review quote:

“Mary Helen Specht’s lyrical novel reminds me of the work of both Claire Messud and Barbara Kingsolver. . . . A luminous debut. . . . Rich with love and heartbreak, it’s the book I’ll be wanting to share with all my friends.”

Review quote:

“Specht’s vivid debut probes the nature of family, the notion of home, and the tender burdens of both. . . . Specht’s distinctive prose -- rich with sharp observations, nimble language, and lyrical imagery -- makes the novel a quirky and memorable read.”

Short description/annotation:

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 split 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 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.


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