Friday, September 14, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (2012)

I was at the book store yesterday looking for a book I loved to give to a friend of mine for a gift, when I stumbled across this book, and was intrigued by the premise (and charmed as always by the fact that it was a first novel). 

I came home and immediately started reading it and didn't stop (well, except for family dinner and things like that) until I had found out how it ended. I simply could not put it down.
Narrated by an older Julia about what happened when she was 11 years old, it is the story of how one day the earth starts to rotate slower and slower.  As the days become longer, and gravity is affected, we see through Julia's eyes how this ominous and irreversible change plays out in her own family, her friends and neighbors, and in the world at large.   As the story progresses we are made aware of how everything is interconnected, right down to the smallest detail.  We also see Julia growing up, and her parents growing apart, as well as how it feels to be an outsider. 

The novel also addresses the ability most of us have to adapt and quickly become used to situations that seem unbearably foreign and uncomfortable at the outset.  How quickly some of us get used to things that we could never have imagined before they actually take place.  As Julia says: "With a little persuasion, any familiar thing can turn abnormal in the mind."

This book has the undertone of a thriller, and the feel of science fiction, but the carefully wrought realism of a modern coming-of-age story.  It was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 


Laurie C said...

Great review! I sped through it, too. Some of our book club thought the author might be planning a sequel because they didn't like the ending, but I thought the ending worked because of the focus on the narrator's coming of age just as these changes in the earth were also taking place.

Amy said...

Thanks, Laurie - I agree with you, I felt that the ending worked well, too - although I have to admit I was very curious about how life on earth would have evolved and if humans would have figured out a way to deal with the new environment on Earth. So if a sequel did come out, I'd definitely want to read it!