Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Late Migrations
Cover of Late Migrations
Late Migrations
A Natural History of Love and Loss
From New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family—and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world.
Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents—her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father—and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child's transition to caregiver.
And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees. As these two threads haunt and harmonize with each other, Renkl suggests that there is astonishment to be found in common things: in what seems ordinary, in what we all share. For in both worlds—the natural one and our own—"the shadow side of love is always loss, and grief is only love's own twin."
Gorgeously illustrated by the author's brother, Billy Renkl, Late Migrations is an assured and memorable debut.
From New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family—and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world.
Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents—her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father—and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child's transition to caregiver.
And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees. As these two threads haunt and harmonize with each other, Renkl suggests that there is astonishment to be found in common things: in what seems ordinary, in what we all share. For in both worlds—the natural one and our own—"the shadow side of love is always loss, and grief is only love's own twin."
Gorgeously illustrated by the author's brother, Billy Renkl, Late Migrations is an assured and memorable debut.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book TWILIGHT
    AUBURN, 1982

    I went to a land-grant university, a rural school that students at the rival institution dismissed as a cow college, though I was a junior before I ever saw a single cow there. For someone who had spent her childhood almost entirely outdoors, my college life was unacceptably enclosed. Every day I followed the same brick path from crowded dorm to crowded class to crowded office to rowded cafeteria, and then back to the dorm again. A gentler terrain of fields and ponds and piney woods existed less than a mile from the liberal arts high-rise, but I had no time for idle exploring, for poking about in the scaled-down universe where forestry and agriculture students learned their trade.

    One afternoon late in the fall of my junior year, I broke. I had stopped at the cafeteria to grab a sandwich before the dinner crowd hit, hoping for a few minutes of quiet in which to read my literature assignment, the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, before my evening shift at the dorm desk. But even with few students present, there was nothing resembling quiet in that cavernous room. The loudspeaker blasted John Cougar's ditty about Jack and Diane, and I pressed my fingers into my ears and hunched low over my book. The sound of my own urgent blood thumping through my veins quarreled with the magnificent sprung rhythm of the poem as thoroughly as Jack and Diane did, and I finally snapped the book closed. My heart was still pounding as I stepped into the dorm lobby, ditched my pack, and started walking. I was headed out.

    It was a delight to be moving, to feel my body expanding into the larger gestures of the outdoors. What a relief to feel my walk lengthening into a stride and my lungs taking in air by the gulp. I kept walking—past the football stadium, past the sororities—until I came to the red dirt lanes of the agriculture program's experimental fields. Brindled cows turned their unsurprised faces toward me in pastures dotted with hay bales that looked like giant spools of golden thread. The empty bluebird boxes nailed to the fence posts were shining in the slanted light. A red-tailed hawk—the only kind I could name—glided past, calling into the sky.

    I caught my breath and walked on, with a rising sense that glory was all around me. Only at twilight can an ordinary mortal walk in light and dark at once—feet plodding through night, eyes turned up toward bright day. It is a glimpse into eternity, that bewildering notion of endless time, where light and dark exist simultaneously.

    When the fields gave way to the experimental forest, the wind had picked up, and dogwood leaves were lifting and falling in the light. There are few sights lovelier than leaves being carried on wind. Though that sight was surely common on the campus quad, I had somehow failed to register it. And the swifts wheeling in the sky as evening came on—they would be visible to anyone standing on the sidewalk outside Haley Center, yet I had missed them, too.

    There, in that forest, I heard the sound of trees giving themselves over to night. Long after I turned in my paper on Hopkins, long after I was gone myself, this goldengrove unleaving would be releasing its bounty to the wind.

    ***

    BABEL
    PHILADELPHIA, 1984

    I thought I had escaped the beautiful, benighted South for good when I left Alabama for graduate school in Philadelphia in 1984, though now I can't imagine how this delusion ever took root. At the age of twenty-two, I had never set foot any farther north than Chattanooga, Tennessee. By the time I got to Philadelphia, I was so poorly traveled—and so...
About the Author-
  • Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, where her essays appear weekly. Her work has also appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Proximity, and River Teeth, among others. She serves as editor of Chapter 16, the daily literary publication of Humanities Tennessee, and is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina. She lives in Nashville.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2019
    Lyrical reflections on the relentless cycle of birth and death by Nashville-based New York Times contributing opinion writer Renkl. In this unusual and poignant memoir, the author, editor of the online literary journal Chapter 16, alternates in short chapters between her current life as a happily married mother of grown children living in Nashville, Tennessee, and her years growing up in rural Alabama surrounded by a loving extended family. Her narrative metaphor becomes the miraculous order of nature, especially the lives of wild birds she observes from her home office as they devote their brief lives to making nests for and feeding the young only to be, in many cases, fodder for larger prey that must nourish their own fledglings. Renkl's mother, Olivia, was born in lower Alabama in 1931; married a Catholic man--"my grandfather had never laid eyes on a Catholic before he met his future son-in-law"--and gave birth to the author in 1961. Renkl was so anticipated and adored by the family that in pictures, "they are looking at me as if I were the sun, as if they had been cold every day of their lives until now." As a child, the author remembers her mother often despondent, stricken by postpartum depression. The family moved to Birmingham in 1968, during the turbulent civil rights era, yet Renkl was sheltered from the greater troubles within the bosom of her family. In 1984, the author attempted a semester of graduate school in Philadelphia, but she was so traumatized by the noise and dislocation that she quickly returned to the South and attended school in South Carolina. Renkl describes the deaths of many of her elders (and her sometimes-onerous role as their late-life caretaker), but the strength of her narrative is in the descriptions of nature in all its glory and cruelty; she vividly captures "the splendor of decay." Interspersed with the chapters are appealing nature illustrations by the author's brother. A series of redolent snapshots and memories that seem to halt time.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2019

    Renkl, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, has written a lyrical memoir entwined with the natural history surrounding her childhood home in rural Alabama and her current suburban Nashville residence. In short chapters, the author shares stories along with memories recounted by her family, notably the fire that claimed her grandparents' home. Included in these anecdotes are tales of births and deaths, coming-of-age and following your dreams, caretaking and the importance of home. As a child, Renkl and her siblings would explore the world around them, and this fascination with nature continues into her adulthood. A keen observer of the natural world she so clearly loves and seeks to understand, Renkl tells of housing bluebird families, raising monarch caterpillars, the sadness of death in nature, and the chipmunks and squirrels with whom she currently shares her home. VERDICT A captivating, beautifully written story of growing up, love, loss, living, and a close extended family by a talented nature writer and memoirist that will appeal to those who enjoy introspective memoirs and the natural world close to home.--Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove, IL

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 10, 2019
    In this magnificent debut, essayist Renkl interweaves the natural world of her backyard in Nashville with memories of her childhood and family members. A poetic storyteller, Renkl captures the essence of the moments that shape and haunt her (“The seasons... tell me to wake up, to remember that every passing moment of every careening day is... the only instant I will ever take that precise breath”). She writes of her bungled attempts to stay focused on college amid desperate homesickness, and, later in life, dealing with the illnesses of grandparents as they got older, raising her children and watching them grow, and going through the heart-wrenching farewells to her parents at their deaths. These vignettes are interspersed with her close inspection of and affinity with the birds, bugs, and butterflies in her garden (she contemplates “the full-body embrace of bumblebees in the milkweed flowers, the first dance of the newlyweds”). Renkl instructs that even amid life’s most devastating moments, there are reasons for hope and celebration (“darkness almost always harbors some bit of goodness tucked out of sight, waiting for an unexpected light to shine”). Readers will savor each page and the many gems of wisdom they contain.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Milkweed Editions
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 5 titles every 7 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Late Migrations
Late Migrations
A Natural History of Love and Loss
Margaret Renkl
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel