Audie Award Nominee, Science Fiction, 2013
With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world. "It still amazes me how little we really knew... Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It's possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much."
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life - the fissures in her parents marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
©2012 Karen Thompson Walker (P)2012 Random House Audio
Advance praise for The Age of Miracles
: "[A] gripping debut....Thompson's Julia is the perfect narrator...While the apocalypse looms large-has in fact already arrived-the narrative remains fiercely grounded in the surreal and horrifying day-to-day and the personal decisions that persist even though no one knows what to do. A triumph of vision, language, and terrifying momentum, the story also feels eerily plausible, as if the problems we've been worrying about all along pale in comparison to what might actually bring our end."(Publishers Weekly)
"In Walker's stunning debut, a young California girl coming of age in a dystopian near future confronts the inevitability of change on the most personal level as life on earth withers. She goes through the trials and joys of first love. She begins to see cracks in her parent's marriage and must navigate the currents of loyalty and moral uncertainty. She faces sickness and death of loved ones. ...Julia's life is shaped by what happens in the larger world, but it is the only life she knows, and Walker captures each moment, intimate and universal, with magical precision. Riveting, heartbreaking, profoundly moving. (Kirkus Reviews)
"What a remarkable and beautifully wrought novel. In its depiction of a world at once utterly like and unlike our own, The Age of Miracles is so convincingly unsettling that it just might make you stockpile emergency supplies of batteries and bottled water. It also - thank goodness - provides great solace with its wisdom, its compassion, and the elegance of its storytelling." (Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep)
I'm recommending this book to all my friends because it's a beautiful coming of age story set at the end of the world. The perfect combination of literary and science fiction.
The story idea was interesting, but the narrative was way too slow. It might be interesting for a pre-teen, but this is no Hunger Games. It was depressing in the extreme.I was very disappointed and ended up skipping ahead.
When I read the description of this book, I was expecting a novel that would be similar to "The Day After Tomorrow" - a novel depicting the science and catastrophy of the slowing of the earth's rotation, with action-packed scenes of survival and dealing with the unexpected. Instead, I got a novel about a girl and her relationships, with the earth's slowing as the backdrop. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
In my opinion, the critics review of the book was grossly inaccurate and exagerrated.
The narrator was fine and did a nice job of telling the story that was written.
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.
Nothing really happens in this book. The world slows down and people panic, and that's about it. The characters were uninteresting and undynamic. Some of the major plot points are never explained and we never see the consequences. Making characters disappear into thin air was just a convenient plot device to mask the author's laziness in fleshing out the implications of their behavior.
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