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The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles (edition 2012)

by Karen Thompson Walker

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2,2502722,850 (3.67)138
Title:The Age of Miracles
Authors:Karen Thompson Walker
Info:Random House (2012), Preloaded Digital Audio Player
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Library-loan, read, 2012

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The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

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Showing 1-5 of 277 (next | show all)
I think I loved this book. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
Great read. Beautiful style, interesting premise. But it's neither science fiction, nor literature, and therefore not a fully satisfying read from either perspective. I was hoping it would be both, and it almost was, but not quite.

Lots of nits to pick: An eleven year-old girl would not have such a sophisticated voice, or such precise observational skills. Even a 23 yo, reflecting, would not have been able to write this, as she would not have remembered all those details. The weird foreshadowing - Those were the last pineapples we would ever eat" - was annoying. The science was dubious. Most of the characters were iconographic, rather than individual.

But I'll probably never say "Sure as the sun will rise in the morning" again. I'll have to just use "Sure as death and taxes" instead.

I'm sure this is & will continue to be popular, and it deserves to be. But don't get your expectations as high as the hype." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I found this a peculiarly detached and unemotional handling of what could have been a fascinating scenario. If I were reading this as the last account of human life on Earth, I'd think that extinction occurred not as a result of the slowing of the planet but as a result of boredom! ( )
  mmacd3814 | May 30, 2016 |
I picked this book up for two reasons. First, it was recommended for people who enjoyed Black Moon. Second, I liked the premise, which is that the earth continues to slow down. I liked it well enough. The writing is well done, and the story, which follows an eleven-year old girl named Julia, is compelling. It is written in first-person so that you get her view of this quirky apocalypse where days and nights grow longer and the earth slowly goes out of whack.

Two things held me back on giving it a higher rating. One, this is very young YA romance, and that just isn't my bucket. Two, this book, like Black Moon, has one group of people hating another group of people, and I just have a hardy time buying into that conflict. In this case, society starts to split as the days and nights lengthen. There are clock-people, who still stick to the more-and-more archaic 24-hour clock, and there are the real-timers, who abandon the 24-hour clock and appreciate the length of days and nights in their own time. For some reason, clock people hate real-timers to the point of this becoming akin to a deep prejudice. Even writing that down, it sounds silly to me, like the different cultures of the Butter Battle Book. And maybe that is the point of that particular conflict, but every time it appeared in the book, it broke my suspension of belief.

I give it three stars, though, because it was still a good read, the writer is very adapt at her trade, and I would like to read more from her. This one just wasn't me. ( )
  DougGoodman | Apr 7, 2016 |
In The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker's debut novel, Julia is an eleven year old living in a Southern California suburb and a sixth grader in middle school when it happened: the earth's rotation started to slow. "It was, at the beginning, a quite invisible catastrophe (pg. 12)" Julia recounts the surreal events occurring around her while she is navigating the tumultuous time of middle school/ junior high and puberty. In The Age of Miracles Julia is dealing with things that are endemic to her age, which are juxtaposed to the world wide catastrophe unfolding around her. As the "slowing" increases, the lengthening of both the day and night, it baffles scientists, and there are more and more global repercussions.

I really enjoyed Julia as the narrator in The Age of Miracles. She's an observant, honest narrator. Her voice rang true. She is a quiet, observant girl, an only child who takes careful note of everything that is occurring around her. Yes, there are catastrophic changes happening, but, to someone her age, losing friends, getting a bra, or liking a boy can all feel just as earth shattering. She is dealing with the day to day realities while living with and observing the inexplicable world changing events of the slowing. She mentions events happening from the slowing, birds falling out of the sky and a division between the "real timers" versus the "clock timers," placed in the context of her daily life.

Rather than a traditional science fiction tale, The Age of Miracles is a coming-of-age story with a science fiction element to the plot. Julia is looking back, as an adult, telling the story of what happened to her when the slowing first started. As Julia says: "This was middle school, the age of miracles, the time when kids shot up three inches over the summer, when breasts bloomed from nothing, when voices dipped and dove (pg. 43)." She's going to mention many of the disastrous details, but they are believably mixed with details from her life. It is reminiscent of people recalling where they were or what they were doing during any disaster. No matter the scale of the disaster, you look back at the before and after of the event through your eyes and your experiences. Changes or disasters, large and small, are all placed in the context of your life when you retell them. You try to make connections to make some sense of what you know is to come.

Julia observes: "And it sees to me now that the slowing triggered certain other changes too, less visible at first but deeper. It disrupted certain subtler trajectories: the track of friendships, for example, the paths toward and away from love. But who am I to say that the course of my childhood was not already set long before the slowing? Perhaps my adolescence was only an average adolescence, the stinging a quite unremarkable stinging. There is such a thing as coincidence: the alignment of two or more seemingly related events with no causal connection. 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 (pg. 33-34).

Since The Age of Miracles is the story of one year in the life of someone who is an eleven-going-on-twelve-year-old girl, the age of the narrator would generally place this as a young adult novel, but a case could be made that it is more of an adult novel because it is an adult looking back. On the other hand, I could generally see a younger audience liking this novel too. Certainly Julia's concerns come across as realistic from someone that age. And, although there are disasters happening, they are not graphic or violent. The writing is simple, eloquent, and compelling.

The Age of Miracles is an exquisite debut novel. Very Highly Recommended

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 277 (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)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Thompson Walkerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Card, Emily Janicemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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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
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.
Sometimes the saddest stories take the fewest words...
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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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