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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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2,0202503,315 (3.68)131
Title:The Age of Miracles
Authors:Karen Thompson Walker
Info:Bond Street Books (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Loaned books
Tags:loanedfrom:tpl, fiction, novel, post-apocalyptic, california, usa, american author, woman author, coming of age, apocalypse, science fiction, family, friendship

Work details

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

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    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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» See also 131 mentions

English (253)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (259)
Showing 1-5 of 253 (next | show all)
The rotation of the earth slows and days and nights both become longer and longer. How can you determine what time it is when the sun is shining continually for 30 hours? What is more difficult to handle - 30 hours of sunlight or 30 hours of darkness? What happens when the "wheat point" is reached, that is when there is not enough sunlight to grow wheat? This story is told through he eyes of Julia, a rather lonely sixth-grader in California. The premise of the story was quite interesting, but I was expecting a bit more of an ending. Perhaps the explanation is from a T. S. Elliot poem: "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper." ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
I just couldn't put this one down. It felt like a simple read, yet there was so much power in each of Julia's observations & realizations. The brevity of the writing truly reflects what I found to be two impactful discoveries of Julia's: 1."Sometimes the saddest stories take the fewest words." & 2. When faced with the choice of what words to leave behind that would most likely survive their time on earth, she & Seth settled on "the truest, simplest things" they knew. I felt as though I were experiencing the same uncertainty, confusion & dread that would arise in any similar situation involving sudden & drastic changes to the earth. ( )
  PiperUp | Aug 14, 2015 |
It was difficult to get into this book, but once I did and accepted what I saw, I was repaid. It was somewhat frustrating to accept that the narrator had no answers for what was happening around her. It turned out to be a somewhat maudlin ending. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
Spellbinding, haunting, The Age of Miracles is a beautiful novel of catastrophe and survival, growth and change, the story of Julia and her family as they struggle to live in an extraordinary time. On an ordinary Saturday, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer, gravity is affected, the birds, the tides, human behavior and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world of danger and loss, Julia faces surprising developments in herself, and her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by Hannah and other friends, the vulnerability of first love, a sense of isolation, and a rebellious new strength. With crystalline prose and the indelible magic of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker gives us a breathtaking story of people finding ways to go on, in an ever-evolving world. ( )
  camtb | Jun 27, 2015 |
It is a regular Saturday morning when Julia, her family and the rest of the world wake up to the news that the rotation of the Earth is slowing. Already dealing with everything life throws at you when you are eleven years old, the world suddenly becomes a different place. Days get longer, birds fall out of the sky and then there is the sickness. People start to leave their everyday lives, head out on the run – but there is nowhere to go.

I read this in a day. I was just entranced by Julia and Seth and the very way that this story was told. I love that it wasn’t typical YA heroes – instead our two protagonists are only eleven years old, facing a disaster of the most epic scale while dealing with the disasters of the everyday as well. Their characters and their friendship were beautifully portrayed in the face of the impending possible end of the world.

The writing was in this amazing, reflective voice from Julia’s perspective that had the wisdom of her elder self as well as the innocence of her younger self. I never felt her voice was unrealistic – rather it felt kind of magical, as if I was floating on it throughout the novel. The imagery crafted by Walker’s storytelling is vivid and creates the perfect atmosphere, dripping with tension. Although a slow moving story, I found I couldn’t put it down and had to finish it the day I started it, and then I had to talk about it with my non-reading friends. It lead to interesting end of the world discussions and the inevitable question: what would you do?

The Age of Miracles is full of rich characters, from Julia’s parents to her friends and neighbours, and we see how the changing world affects them all through her eyes, as well as experiencing those awkward, challenging and sometimes difficult moments of adolescence. It is a classic coming of age novel set in an uncertain time, which makes growing up just that bit harder but of course, still inevitable. I enjoyed every moment even when it made me sad, depressed or angry. I loved it for the way it remained with me long after I had finished and moved on to the next book on my TBR. I was haunted by it and I feel like I still am. Unforgettable is not a word I throw around lightly but it applies here. And I think part of what makes it that way is how easily the unexplainable could wipe away or completely change or challenge the existence we enjoy as we know it, as it has in this book. The reactions of the characters and the slow burning uncertainty of the end of the world is captured so brilliantly and realistically that it rings true to me. It makes me think of that T.S. Eliot poem ‘The Hollow Men’:

This is the way the world ends/not with a bang but with a whimper.
( )
  crashmyparty | Jun 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 253 (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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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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(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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