September 16, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker: Review

The Age of Miracles
Publisher: Random House (June 26, 2012)
Pages: 269 Pages
Genre: Science Fiction
From Goodreads. 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.

Review by Kate
THE AGE OF MIRACLES, by Karen Thompson Walker, explores a disturbing possibility of surviving the earth as its spinning slows down. This book is from the point of view of 11-year old Julia, which makes it all the more interesting.

This book was an unexpected surprise. While I was reading I dug myself deeper and deeper into the story and in my mind something like this was completely plausible. When I put it down I had to remind myself that the world was still spinning properly. For an author to bring out those types of emotions from me is the mark of a good one in my mind.

This book was really effective from the point of view of a middle schooler. Because while the world was changing, Julia's life still went on. She was still bullied, unpopular, and crushing on one of her classmates. There wasn't much "conflict" in this book to keep the tension high. This book was more of a character study in the midst of a world-wide panic.

I liked how Walker explored the different ways that people would deal with the repercussions of the world changes. Society was initially split in coping with the time change creating mini-societies within the whole. Also, a new host of sicknesses and exposure warnings were brought to light. I loved the world-building in this novel, another thing that made it one of a kind.

I highly recommend this book to book clubs (because there is definitely a lot to discuss afterwards) and those looking for something different!


  1. I LOVED your stream-of-consciousness approach for this one. I clicked to comment on it before I read your meta-post, and then I laughed because you said what I was thinking about it being one of your best reviews ever...and then you second-guessed yourself. DON'T DO THAT. It flowed so well!

  2. Some have pointed out the possibility that in order to create the effect of weak gravity on the moon, the astronauts were carried by thin wires and filmed jumping around. NASA then slowed down the film replica rolex, according to the conspiracy theorists, in order to make it look like they were floating through the air. Doubters have gone far enough to construct replica watches uk their own wiring systems, film themselves and slow down the footage to compare it to NASA's video.


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