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The Age of Miracles

by Karen Thompson Walker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8833043,303 (3.67)176
Imagines the coming-of-age story of young Julia, whose world is thrown into upheaval when it is discovered that the Earth's rotation has suddenly begun to slow, posing a catastrophic threat to all life.
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    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Despite differences in plot -- a teenager's post-murder afterlife in The Lovely Bones, and civilization's slow, steady collapse in the aftermath of disaster in The Age of Miracles -- the thoughtful young heroines of these melancholy, haunting stories are similar to one another.… (more)
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    pbirch01: Both books deal with living in California after a major environmental change and how to bring normalcy to uncertain times.
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» See also 176 mentions

English (300)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  All languages (304)
Showing 1-5 of 300 (next | show all)
I would've liked more science, less 12 year old eulogizing about everything. It's well written and gives you a lot to think about, but it left me wanting. ( )
  amandanan | Jun 6, 2020 |
This novel offers a speculative account of the crisis that occurs when the rotation of the Earth slows, lengthening the periods of daylight and nighttime. This incident is referred to by the characters in the book as The Slowing, and it has the effect of causing birds to die off, an increase of solar radiation, a complete inability to grow traditional crops, and even causing some people to contract an illness.

While the premise is fantastical, the way the fictional American society responds to the crisis is realistic. The US government determines that the country will continue to follow the 24-hour clock regardless of what time the sun is shining or not. Some people rebel against this, insisting on living on "real time," even going so far as forming their own separatist communities.

The narrator/protagonist of the novel is a junior high school girl from suburban San Diego named Julia. From her perspective we see the dissolution of the social order among her family, friends, and school. Any attempts to deal with the normal struggles of adolescence are overshadowed by the crisis that prevents any sense of predictability in the world. Julia narrates from an uncertain future while the narrative focuses on the first few months of the slowing as Julia faces changing friendships and an emerging relationship with a long-time crush.

This novel is dark and emotional and all too real to be reading at this time. ( )
  Othemts | May 5, 2020 |
Boring, boring, boring. What's all the hype about? No idea.

If you want to see a GOOD review, that completely sums up everything I was thinking (and then some!), see this one:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1018707065?book_show_action=false&from... ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
While the science seemed a little off at times, the mood was handled in a very deft way. ( )
  Loryndalar | Mar 19, 2020 |
This is a book which has all the elements to be a good read, but still falls short. I like the writing style, polished but natural.
The best part of this is the coming of age story, which is done decently. The whole background story with the "slowing" of the Earth seems to be going somewhere the whole book. There is a nice build up and then it finishes on such a low note. So disappointing.

I also feel like there should be some science to the science fiction, even if it's the soft kind of sci-fi. Two and a half stars. ( )
  ZeljanaMaricFerli | Feb 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 300 (next | show all)
"The Age of Miracles"? More like: "The Age of Disasters"! Before I get into why I say that, I'll elaborate on what the book is about. First off, it's actually a very well written book. it's told from the point of view of a middle school aged girl and the events in the story take place are told through her perspective. Everything was fine, until the days started to get longer. First it was only by a few minutes everyday, then it escalated to half an hour, then a full hour, then hours, until people who were stuck on the side of the hemisphere facing the Sun found that the suns hostile rays make the outside world totally inhospitable. people were forced to permanently take refuge inside their household as a slight reprieve to escape a heat-related death.

The reason I call it "The Age of Disasters" is because of how terribly things spiral out of control. Everyday lives are thrown out of whack as people scramble to reorient themselves into their new reality. I went into the book having almost no prior knowledge about its plot. I thought it would be a lot happier than what it was on account of it having the word "Miracles" in the title. And boy was I wrong.

The ending of this book doesn't even come close to the word "bittersweet." It's just plain bitter to me. It doesn't delve too deeply into the fate of humanity, but a 20 year time-skip does show you what becomes of the main character and her family, sans her love interest who she hasn't seen since the suns powerful rays gave him cancer and forced him to move to new mexico for treatment. They promised that they'd keep in touch, and meant it, but due to unknown reasons the letters the main character sent to him were never returned and they never saw one another again. My guess is that the treatment failed and he didn't survive, or maybe they never made it to new mexico at all.

This is a great, albeit depressing book.
added by morgan434 | editReading the actual book, who else? Me (Apr 17, 2015)
 
What sets the story apart from more run-of-the-mill high-concept novels is Ms. Walker’s decision to recount the unfolding catastrophe from the perspective of Julia, who is on the verge of turning 12. Her voice turns what might have been just a clever mash-up of disaster epic with sensitive young-adult, coming-of-age story into a genuinely moving tale that mixes the real and surreal, the ordinary and the extraordinary with impressive fluency and flair.

“The Age of Miracles” is not without its flaws. There are moments when the spell the author has so assiduously created wobbles, and moments when a made-for-Hollywood slickness seeps into the story. Some minor plot developments feel as if they had been created simply for pacing, and Ms. Walker sometimes seems so determined to use Julia’s circumscribed life as a microcosm of the larger world that the reader has to be reminded that “the slowing” is supposedly a planet-altering phenomenon.
added by ozzer | editNYTimes, MICHIKO KAKUTANI (Jun 18, 2012)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Thompson Walkerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Card, Emily JaniceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Here in the last minutes, the very end of the world,
someone's tightening a screw thinner than an eyelash,
someone with slim wrists is straightening flowers...

Another End of the World, James Richardson
Dedication
For my parents and for Casey
First words
We didn't notice right away.

We did not sense at first the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath skin.
Quotations
Sometimes the saddest stories take the fewest words...
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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(from the publisher)
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, twelve-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.  Amidst this altered environment, Julia also faces a new kind of transformation – growing up.  Coping with the normal disasters of everyday life (the loss of friends, struggles in her parents’ marriage, and the anguish of first love) she grapples to find her way on a changing world.
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