BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
“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.”
Luminous, haunting, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles is a stunning fiction debut by a superb new writer, a story about coming of age during extraordinary times, about people going on with their lives in an era of profound uncertainty.
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old 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.
With spare, graceful prose and the emotional wisdom of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker has created a singular narrator in Julia, a resilient and insightful young girl, and a moving portrait of family life set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.
3 of 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Julia is beginning the sixth grade and as an only child, doesn’t have too much to worry about. Then the rotation of the Earth starts slowing. Days and nights become longer, and every aspect of life on Earth changes.
Meanwhile, Julia is quietly dealing with changes personal to her. She’s not developing like some of the other girls are, her best friend has neglected her, and her previously happy parents are beginning to have marital issues. How can Julia handle not only worrying about the fate of the world, but her own life every day as well?
I’m so used to reading POST-apocalyptic novels, that getting into the groove of this book was difficult for me. After all, this is more of a chronicle of the slow apocalypse of the Earth as it was happening.
I had mixed feelings for Julia as a character. On the one hand, I have been an eleven year old girl and experienced the things she did: having to buy your first bra, losing a best friend, trying to decipher the intentions of boys. I feel for her in that she had to go through so many difficult situations basically alone. But part of me wishes she could have spoken out to someone…anyone. It’s like Julia was so quiet and reserved that she was scared to interrupt anyone’s life with her problems.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t totally understand how lengthening days and nights would affect the planet and its’ inhabitants in such a way. After all, as the book itself mentions, aren’t there parts of the world where 30 days of night is the norm? I tried hard while I was reading to wrap my head around why this concept would be so catastrophic, but I still didn’t get it. After all, isn’t time a malleable thing? It only can be quantified because humans made it so.
The read was rather slow for me even though the book was under 300 pages. The Earth was slowing its’ rotation, and the story unfolded in a similar manner. I didn’t actually feel there was much story to be told. I was a little disappointed that no reason was given for the slowing.
The main message I got from this book is that life goes on, even when you think there is no way it will. Even for an eleven year old girl who sees her world literally and figuratively crumbling around her.
About the Author
KAREN THOMPSON WALKER holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and is an editor of fiction and non-fiction at Simon & Schuster. The Age of Miracles is her first book.
One commenter will win a paperback copy of The Age of Miracles! I will pick a winner and email them on July 15.