Published by Random House on Jun 26, 2012
Genres: Castrophe, YA
Format: ARC from Gift
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“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.
Word of warning: this is a gushy “I love this book” type of review.
This story was a slow telling of a life-changing castrophe, but it was also a coming-of-age story for a pre-teen girl. The castrophe isn’t sudden, it happens gradually over an extended period time, which leant a slower, drawn out pace to the story. This unique change of pace from most books made the story feel unique and captivating.
I was able to really understand and feel for Julia. Her life slowly changes, and not just because she is becoming a teenager, but also because the whole world is slowly changing. It was easy to sympathize with her situation. Eleven is a hard enough time for a girl without having to add everything else on.
One of my favourite parts of the story was the lack of a clean explanation. It was so much more believable that there wasn’t a good explanation for the slowing. I can fully believe that if something like that actually happened, that we would not really know why. There is so much about our planet that we don’t understand, and this seems like one of the things that, if it were to happen, we would be left scratching our heads and trying to figure out an explanation long after it was over. And scary as it seems, this slowing seems like a plausible situation that could occur.
Overall, I loved this story. It had an interest pace that allowed for lots of detail. The pace also allowed the reader time to really understand and enjoy the story. I found that I gobbled up the book, yet I still feel like I took my time reading it. It was engrossing and unusual, and well worth reading.