The narrator, Emily Janice Card, brings a pitch-perfect winsomeness to her performance of a young woman remembering and sensing her experiences on the edge of adolescence.
No, I didn't feel this story pulled me in so much that I wanted to listen a second time.
I loved the vivid descriptions of the environmental changes that happen as the worlds slows it's spin. I found myself looking up at the sun when I went outside so much more aware of it's power after listening to this book.
The reader captured the feeling behind the words quite well.
This book moves slowly as the entire premise of the book is a "slowing". Not so say it was boring slow just developed at a steady pace which made it a read I could put down, think about for a while, then pick back up again.
Based on some of the negative reviews, I almost passed this one up, but a few of the 4 and 5 star reviews convinced me otherwise. I'm glad they did, because I really loved this book and feel it deserves all of the positive press it's been getting this summer. TAOM "reads" like a tone poem -- slow, meditative, elegiac. The pace drags in a few places, but the author's luminous prose and evocative descriptions more than make up for any lack of action. The reader is OUTSTANDING, one of the best I've heard in a long time. She gives each character their own distinctive voice, and brings such care and thoughtfulness to her narration, you'd think it was her own novel. Overall, a great story and beautiful listening experience.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
What I liked best about The Age of Miracles is that it made me think. Walker's plot is a very unique idea, that the Earth's rotation is decelerating and the book chronicles many of the environmental and societal problems caused by The Slowing through Julia, the 11 year-old narrator. I did have some problems with the lack of scientific details, inconsistencies (school remains open, utilities seem to work fine, but trees, whales, and birds are dying in massive numbers), and some things that just plain didn't make sense (wheat can no longer be grown, but peanut butter is available? Peanuts are a fairly temperature sensitive crop, and even with adequate water, temperatures above 95 degrees F can severely impair development of the crop.) What saves this from being a true disaster of a book is that Walker uses Julia to remind us that even in the face of a huge environmental disaster which we can't fix or control, life in some way still goes on. Julia poignantly talks about her loneliness, 6th grade, and embarrassment at not yet wearing a bra, while the Earth and society are changing in ways that can't be predicted.
This book made me think about the concept of time, and it probably didn't hurt that I saw The Fabric of Time Nova episode while I was reading the book. The book also made me think about our own environment, as The Slowing seemed to be loosely linked to climate change. It probably also didn't hurt that I read Bill McKibben's terrifying article in Rolling Stone while I was reading this book.
I give The Age of Miracles a solid 3.5, rounded up because it made me think about so many other connected concepts. I only wish that Walker had better written her really original idea.
Late in the novel, the father of Julia (the main character) asks his daughter "Do you know what a paradox is?" which kind of sums it up. This novel is a strange brew of contradictory aims and voices, ultimately leading to disappointment. As other reviewers have noted, the story is mostly about teenage (actually preteen) angst with mean behavior from the popular cliques at school, played out in lunchrooms, school buses, and pool parties. It is hard to fit in and figure out who you are, make sense of your parents troubled marriage, say the right things to the boy you have a mad crush on, and keep up with math homework, soccer practice, and piano lessons. Oh and the world is coming to gruesome, horrible end as the Earth stops revolving.
If you are looking for a poignant coming of age story this might be the book for you, although I wonder if the "end of the world" context really adds anything. If you are a hard core scifi/futuristic/dystopia fan, there isn't much here. Bad stuff is apparently happening out there, but without the details or imagination that would make it truly scary or plausible.
If there is a "message" here (not that there needs to be one) it may have to do with the human capacity to tune out larger catastrophes as we remain focused on the day to day crises of life.
The narration is excellent.
Age of Miracles is a thoughtful novel.
I was dissappointed as I was hoping for something like 'One Second After' or 'Life as We Knew It' and it is not. It is told from the perspective of an 11 year old and is an innocent yet poignant coming of age (a bit early in my opinion~) story.
The changes occurring on earth are merely a back story. I believe if I had different expectations I would have become more engaged.
This is a good book but the synopsis is misleading. I suggest it would be a wonderful read for middle school child. (probably best for a girl as it deals with crushes and first bras!!!!)
Karen Thompson Walker animates her characters using such brilliant gestures that I felt transported into her protagonist, Julia's slowly changing world. Unfortunately, when the earth's rotation slows down, so does the plot. The excitement of the premise is intentionally set in the background while 10-year-old Julia frets about fashion, friendships, and boys. The changes in the length of a day are so gradual that they don't really matter to the story, just the setting. Every major action the characters made could have occurred in a novel without the earth's slowing. Greater spans of time between chapters would have made for a much more dramatic/ epic narrative. Still, at the heart of the novel is a delicate girls heart: just as fragile and small a thing as our worlds place in the universe, but equally beautiful and important.
Great idea! The rest is kinda ehh. I liked the concept and that science of the earth slowing down was interesting but I never became invested in the human story. It was like a series of sad and unfortunate tales. Could have been way better.
Consider instead, Life As We Knew It, a YA novel from 2006 with a nearly identical premise and a much better-developed arc in terms of the tension and feeling of impending and realistic peril.
I am almost tempted to reread The Age of Miracles, even though I didn't like it, to see if it was the performance rather than the writing which imparted such a wistful, infuriatingly passive quality to the main character.
Walker relies a lot on descriptive generalizations rather than creating scenes, often referencing the future ("That would be the last time I ate a grape..") which took me out of the story. I also felt she didn't get the age of her character accurately. Julia's concerns did not seem like those of an eleven year old.
I can't recommend this book, at least in its audio book form.
This is a debut novel which combines the sixth grade year of a young girl with what is in essence an altered world. One Saturday morning, Julia and her family in California awake to the same problem as the rest of the world-for some inexplicable reason, the earth started slowing down. Each day it gets slower with days and nights growing longer. This has an effect on people’s moods, on their physical condition, on their ability to play sports as gravity is affected, on the ability of birds and other animals to survive the environment, and, finally, on the danger of being exposed at all to the sun. Set against this incredible environment, Julia suffers the loss of friends, first love, not being popular, her parents’ marital problems, and her grandfather’s eccentricity. This is a riveting debut novel.