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Migratory Animals by Mary Helen Specht
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Migratory Animals

by Mary Helen Specht

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A beautiful, real story of how our lives usually don't turn out the way we'd planned. The characters could walk out of the book.

My favorite parts were about Alyce and her tapestry. If you read it, you'll see. ( )
  SoubhiKiewiet | Mar 20, 2018 |
I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I was very much looking forward to it--delighted to have won it--and enjoyed it a great deal.

The novel is set in motion when Flannery, a (white) American woman who has been living and working in Nigeria for several years and is engaged to a Nigerian man, has to return to the US after the scientific project she's working on runs into funding issues. Once back in Texas she reunites with family--chiefly her younger sister who is starting to show signs of Huntington's disease, which killed their mother--and friends, all of whom attended college together.

The vantage point cycles through many of these characters, but mainly Flannery, her sister, best friend Alyce, and Santiago with whom she had been romantically involved before going to Africa.

The central question hanging over much of the book is "Will Flannery return to Nigeria?" something she has said she plans to do but surely she won't--it is assumed by some--with her sister sick. The book asks other questions like who is responsible for whom--not just inter-personally but globally? Where is home? Where do we belong?

One thing I at least think Mary Helen Specht handled with deftness and sensitivity was Flannery's relationship with her fiance Kunle, his family and other Nigerians as well as Africa in general. While she certainly has lessons to learn she doesn't really walk in with a lot of preconceived notions and she does notice when something turns out differently than she'd anticipated. Because she is a white westerner she believes Nigerians will view her as an outsider but instead she is regarded as a bit of a celebrity. (Still an outsider but she's treated better than the character of Angie, an African American in Nigeria, in [b:Into the Go-Slow|20702558|Into the Go-Slow|Bridgett M. Davis|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404782872s/20702558.jpg|40022391]) Later in the book when Kunle suggests she is doing something not for Nigeria, but for herself, she takes this to heart.

I'm looking forward to more work by Mary Helen Specht

( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I was very much looking forward to it--delighted to have won it--and enjoyed it a great deal.

The novel is set in motion when Flannery, a (white) American woman who has been living and working in Nigeria for several years and is engaged to a Nigerian man, has to return to the US after the scientific project she's working on runs into funding issues. Once back in Texas she reunites with family--chiefly her younger sister who is starting to show signs of Huntington's disease, which killed their mother--and friends, all of whom attended college together.

The vantage point cycles through many of these characters, but mainly Flannery, her sister, best friend Alyce, and Santiago with whom she had been romantically involved before going to Africa.

The central question hanging over much of the book is "Will Flannery return to Nigeria?" something she has said she plans to do but surely she won't--it is assumed by some--with her sister sick. The book asks other questions like who is responsible for whom--not just inter-personally but globally? Where is home? Where do we belong?

One thing I at least think Mary Helen Specht handled with deftness and sensitivity was Flannery's relationship with her fiance Kunle, his family and other Nigerians as well as Africa in general. While she certainly has lessons to learn she doesn't really walk in with a lot of preconceived notions and she does notice when something turns out differently than she'd anticipated. Because she is a white westerner she believes Nigerians will view her as an outsider but instead she is regarded as a bit of a celebrity. (Still an outsider but she's treated better than the character of Angie, an African American in Nigeria, in [b:Into the Go-Slow|20702558|Into the Go-Slow|Bridgett M. Davis|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404782872s/20702558.jpg|40022391]) Later in the book when Kunle suggests she is doing something not for Nigeria, but for herself, she takes this to heart.

I'm looking forward to more work by Mary Helen Specht

( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I was very much looking forward to it--delighted to have won it--and enjoyed it a great deal.

The novel is set in motion when Flannery, a (white) American woman who has been living and working in Nigeria for several years and is engaged to a Nigerian man, has to return to the US after the scientific project she's working on runs into funding issues. Once back in Texas she reunites with family--chiefly her younger sister who is starting to show signs of Huntington's disease, which killed their mother--and friends, all of whom attended college together.

The vantage point cycles through many of these characters, but mainly Flannery, her sister, best friend Alyce, and Santiago with whom she had been romantically involved before going to Africa.

The central question hanging over much of the book is "Will Flannery return to Nigeria?" something she has said she plans to do but surely she won't--it is assumed by some--with her sister sick. The book asks other questions like who is responsible for whom--not just inter-personally but globally? Where is home? Where do we belong?

One thing I at least think Mary Helen Specht handled with deftness and sensitivity was Flannery's relationship with her fiance Kunle, his family and other Nigerians as well as Africa in general. While she certainly has lessons to learn she doesn't really walk in with a lot of preconceived notions and she does notice when something turns out differently than she'd anticipated. Because she is a white westerner she believes Nigerians will view her as an outsider but instead she is regarded as a bit of a celebrity. (Still an outsider but she's treated better than the character of Angie, an African American in Nigeria, in [b:Into the Go-Slow|20702558|Into the Go-Slow|Bridgett M. Davis|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404782872s/20702558.jpg|40022391]) Later in the book when Kunle suggests she is doing something not for Nigeria, but for herself, she takes this to heart.

I'm looking forward to more work by Mary Helen Specht

( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
3.5 stars ( )
  RealLifeReading | Jan 19, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062346032, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:59 -0400)

Reluctantly leaving her fiance in Nigeria to return to her home in Austin, a young scientist contemplates her future and is devastated to learn that her sister is succumbing to the genetic disease that killed their mother. Flannery, a young scientist, is forced to return to Austin from five years of research in Nigeria. Having left behind her loving fiance 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.… (more)

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