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The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
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The Age of Miracles (edition 2012)

by Karen Thompson Walker

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1,8042323,882 (3.68)115
Member:yrchmonger
Title:The Age of Miracles
Authors:Karen Thompson Walker
Info:Random House (2012), Preloaded Digital Audio Player
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, science fiction, apocalyptic

Work details

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

2012 (61) 2013 (33) apocalypse (22) apocalyptic (33) ARC (20) bildungsroman (12) California (54) coming of age (100) dystopia (59) dystopian (38) Early Reviewers (11) ebook (27) end of the world (20) family (38) fiction (231) Indiespensable (12) Kindle (16) library (12) natural disasters (14) novel (25) post-apocalyptic (40) read (30) read in 2012 (35) read in 2013 (19) science fiction (129) sf (13) signed (15) to-read (117) YA (22) young adult (32)
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English (233)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (239)
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)
A lovely read that starts with the idea that the rotation of the earth is slowing down and then tells the reader what happens to the family of an 11-year-old girl from the period of the 'slowing'. This gives a human scale to a major disaster and we see the whole thing from her point of view. This, therefore, is not a novel full of science it is about emotions and teenage concerns. Julia, the 11-year-old, is a loner and is an observant teenager and she tells how the world changes, both the world outside her home and within her family, as the world slows further and further down. Well put together and an interesting novel. ( )
  Tifi | Jun 29, 2014 |
Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Style: 4 1/2 stars
Pace: 4 stars

So ephemeral, and it pops like a soap bubble afterwards, but while reading it, I really enjoyed it. ( )
  Jami_Leigh | Jun 22, 2014 |
As speculative pre-apocalyptic fiction, The Age of Miracles was reasonably good and sure to be memorable, although lacking a certain amount of social realism. As a story about actual character, centering around a girl becoming a young woman, it fell flat.

The Age of Miracles centers around "the slowing" which hits earth at what appears to be the present time and slows down the rotation of the earth, which increasingly lengthens both the day and the night with implications for everything from animal migrations to the ability to raise crops to baseball (affected by the altered gravity) to the magnetic field that protects the Earth from solar radiation. These consequences mount of the course of the book, wreaking increasing havoc on the environment and human society. (The lack of social realism is that no matter how much everything disintegrates, people can go the store and buy any manner of things, cell phones continue to work, and everything seems more functional than you think it would actually be.)

In this world, the most interesting divide is between the people who adhere to the government's request and stay on clock time, following the normal 24 hour patterns regardless of whether it is light or dark, and the more free spirited rebels living on "real time" staying up when it is light (a period that stretches as long as 24 hours and longer) and sleeping when it is dark (the mirror image of length). The real timers reject society, move to communes, and believe that by enjoying longer days they are slowing the process of aging.

Against this unique and interesting backdrop, the story that unfolds is rather pedestrian, could never stand on its own, and probably was not marketed as "young adult" because it was not interesting enough to hold the attention of young adults. The story is narrated in the first person by Julia, a 10 year old who by the end is 12 years old, and shows her falling out with various friends, discovery of new friends--in particular a boyfriend named Seth--as she watches her father have an affair with her piano teacher. None of this feels particularly perceptive or interesting or tells you very much about any of the characters other than Julia. And Julia is moderately interesting, but also goes through all the normal clich̩s of a coming of age story.

As a relatively fast read it might still be worthwhile. But it does not come close to some of the really great debut novels in recent years, with Swamplandia! being an obvious comparison. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
the writing wasn't incredible, but the story/concept was enough to keep me wanting to read. ( )
  outlandishlit | Jun 9, 2014 |
The Age of Miracles was without a doubt a very unique work of fiction. Something has happened that has caused a "slowing" of the earth and the length of the days begins to get longer. This would almost put it into a genre that I generally don't have much use for. The end of the world type of story. However, this one is very different mostly because of the way it is told. For its told through the voice of Julia, who is about to turn 12.

Julia's voice gives it a very different tone than would be expected from such a novel. For its almost a calm narration of how a would would react to a change in everything they know. As the slowing continues, there emerge all that we would expect from a reality of such a situation. The religious fanatics preaching the end of times the doomsayers, the deniers. Eventually, you get a split in society with the clockers (those that choose to run on the old 24 hour clock regardless of the ever increasing length of days and nights) and the real timers who live by the sun's time.

Julia goes through life doing her normal daily schedule and commenting on the people that come in and out of her life. How people change, things change, the sickness that affects many including her mother. And through it all, she still speaks with the dreams and wishes and fears of most any girl her age.

Its a beautifully told tale. Though I do have to say that the one thing that didn't fit well was that Julia's voice did not come across to me as that of a 12 year old. I would have put her age by her voice as that of a teenager. But, that if that is the worst I can say of a person's writing, then she did quite the job. And it seems the other reviews on her book seem to echo my sentiments as well. Karen Thompson Walker is most definitely a voice worth watching for in the future.

www.sephipiderwitch.com ( )
  sephibitchwitch | Jun 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)
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)
 
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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...
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(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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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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