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The Age of Miracles

by Karen Thompson Walker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,1553283,692 (3.66)187
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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» See also 187 mentions

English (325)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (330)
Showing 1-5 of 325 (next | show all)
I had such high hopes for this book. It had gotten lots of good press, and it sounded like a new type of apocalyptic story. Instead, it was a rather bland coming-of-age story that just happened to take place in a world where suddenly things were changing.

One day, Julia Walker wakes up and the Earth's rotation is slowing. The implications of this far-reaching but they take a back seat to Julia's story of growing up in this environment. The writing style was a bit detached, and seemed to keep the disastrous changes at a distance. And the story focused on Julia's trials and tribulations with school, friends, her family, and that boy she likes.

And I was just very disappointed at the ending, which seemed a bit of a cop out, glossing over events between early teenager to young adulthood, and foreshadowing to the inevitable extinction of life on the Earth. ( )
  wisemetis | Dec 26, 2022 |
Coming of age science fiction based on the premise that the earth’s rotation is gradually slowing. Eleven-year-old protagonist Julia lives with her parents in Southern California. Julia’s parents are experiencing marital difficulties. Julia is going through the usual preteen struggles with school, friends, ostracism, and crushes.

Julia narrates the story from the perspective of ten years into the future, in her twenties, looking back to when “the slowing” began. People attempt to adapt to the changes in the number of hours in a day. They split into two camps – one elects to stay on a 24-hour clock, as the government recommends, and the other decides to live according to a “natural” cycle, adjusting their biorhythms to the lengthening days and nights.

Many environmental challenges must be faced. The lengthening of daylight means more exposure to radiation from the sun. During extended darkness, kids still go to school and parents go to work. Birds mysteriously die off. The magnetic field changes. The supply chain is disrupted. Crops can no longer be grown naturally. People experience gravitational sickness.

I was expecting more analysis of the strange phenomena. While the idea of “the slowing” is creative, it is never adequately explained. The science remains in the background. I found the ending rather disappointing. If you are interested in young adult coming-of-age stories you will find more to enjoy than if you are looking for science fiction.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
This book is exquisite. I was browsing for books in a used bookstore and it called to me from the shelfs, I read the synopsis and was enthralled. I finished it in a matter of hours and I've never been the same. Perhaps it's because I work in the scientific side of the world, but the soft world conjuring-- for this truly is a stellar example of what world conjuring vs world building can accomplish-- is incredible and so involving.

It centers around a young girl as she comes of age in the strange new world brought about when the earth suddenly starts slowing in its spin. It's a momentous bit of writing and a standalone novel as far as I know. I cannot reccomend it enough!

If you've read books like Life As We Knew It (Susan Beth Pfeifer), The Book Thief (Marcus Zuzac), or Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor) and liked those then no doubt you'll love this! ( )
  afdisah | Jun 20, 2022 |
It was interesting enough, although it was mostly about a 12 year old and her social life. I suppose it would be difficult to write about details of the changes that would take place, but I wish it had had more about the actual effects of the slowing of the earth's spin, even though it would have been pure conjecture. ( )
  Wren73 | Mar 4, 2022 |
The earth’s rotation starts to slow, and humankind begins to panic and change in ways large and small. Eleven-year-old Julia watches her family, friends and neighbors transform over the course of weeks and months and the world turns into something she barely recognizes. A book that asks lots of “what if” questions. The only negative for me is that like with other books by this author… the book just sort of *stops* without finishing off character arcs, which makes for an abrupt ending. However, it’s a lovely tale other than that one small flaw, and definitely an interesting read!

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
( )
  KatKinney | Mar 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 325 (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
Rankin, EmilyNarratorsecondary 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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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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Book description
(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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