The Age of Miracles Hardback
'It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end.
The real catastrophes are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown...' What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day becomes night and night becomes day?
What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on an eleven-year-old girl, grappling with emotional changes in her own life..?
One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing.
The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on.
Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 384 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
- Publication Date: 21/06/2012
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780857207234
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.
Review by teresa1953
Well this is an interesting one! The story begins at the beginning of "The Slowing." The earth has begun to revolve at a slightly slower rate. Imperceptibly, the days have begun to lengthen and it has catastrophic results. The world is at the mercy of this phenomenon and as the days increase, the whole of nature and mankind is at risk. This book appears to be targeted at younger adult market and is told from the viewpoint of Julia, an eleven year old girl living in California with her parents, a doctor and teacher. I wouldn't want to test the scientific theory of "The Slowing" and advise that the reader suspends any comprehension of fact before opening the first page. However, it does it's job very well from the viewpoint of how fragile mankind actually is. Julia's recording of the burnt lawns, dead plants and trees, extinction of animal life, crops and reliance on canned goods and panic "stockpiling" are convincing. The effect that prolonged time has on humans and the effects of radiation sickness all ring true.To summarise, it is a good read and the writing is skilful. However, it isn't just the earth that is slowing, there are parts of the book which dwell too long on the lengthening of one particular day, but hastily gloss over the catastrophic long term effects of the sun's tardy spinning! Julia briefly records how life has become almost unbearable when she is twenty three years old. We could have done with more detail at the end. Having said that, I enjoyed the story and Karen Thompson Walker, who wrote this book before work each day, has great promise.Certainly give it go.....I think we will be hearing more from Ms Walker.
Review by AdonisGuilfoyle
Imagine time growing longer, 25 hours instead of the regular 24, then 48, until days of burning sun are followed by nights of cold darkness. The birds start falling from the sky, trees and crops are dying, people hoard food and plan for the end of the world. 'Clock timers', those who follow the old system of minutes and hours, early mornings and normal days, must go to work in the darkness and black out the brilliant sun from bedroom windows when they try to sleep in what is now the middle of the day. 'Real timers' rise with the sun and sleep when it sets, but day and night are growing further and further apart. This is the Slowing, but for one eleven year old girl named Julia, growing up is still growing up, whatever happens to the world outside.I absolutely loved this book, downloaded after reading a chance review in a newspaper. The eerie, 'this could happen' quality of the Slowing, described in retrospect by the adult Julia, in much the same way as <i>Mockingbird</i>'s Scout recalls her childhood in the South, is but a central device for the all too familiar growing pains of a young girl. Friends fall out, parents argue, boys tease and pair off with girls, and time begins to slow the older we get. Karen Thompson Walker simply takes that sensation of crossing from the endless summer of childhood into the daily grind of adult life and runs with it: <i>'How much sweeter life would be if it all happened in reverse, if, after decades of disappointments, you finally arrived at an age when you had conceded nothing, when everything was possible.'</i> There's also most likely a message in there about destroying the planet, but Julia's perspective is stronger.I enjoyed her innocent, idyllic view of Californian life, too, with the pleasant neighbourhoods, glorious weather and golden beaches, which all too soon turns darker and poignantly nostalgic. For all the loss and sadness, I think I could escape back into Julia's world again and again. Recommended for readers of all ages.
Review by deargreenplace
Like the reviewer below, I got the sense that this was YA fiction.It is about how 11 year-old Julia and her family cope with the lengthening of the days in a dystopian California, but focuses a lot on her crush on Seth, and how her childhood friendships are changing as she and her friends grow older. It's about feeling awkward and unpopular in high school, and not understanding your parents.It does work on this level. It works much less so as a dystopian novel. We aren't given enough information about how society and government deal with the changing environment. The author mentions that citizens are given the choice to stick to the clock or daylight, but then some of Julia's neighbours are targeted for making the "wrong" choice. I get that we are seeing the world through Julia's eyes, but I would have liked more detail about how the changes affected everyone, and how society overall was affected - isn't that what dystopian novels are about?But wait. It's been written by someone who attended a creative writing course and used to work in publishing. Could that explain the hype and ill-deserved positive reviews?
Review by Fliss88
Not sure what made me pick this book up and read it, because it is not my usual genre at all. The story line held my interest until the end, but I felt it could have done more, gone further and had a stronger punch. It gave an interesting slant on an end of world disaster, but no depth of detail as to how or why it was happening, I'd have liked to know more. The story is of a teenage girl and her family learning to deal with 'the slowing', as they call it, while their days lengthen slowly to 50 hours of sunlight, the nights get colder and the whole community polarise into 'real timers' or 'clock timers'.
Review by Helenliz
This tells of the impact that a significant event has on the life of a young girl, her family, friends and where she lives. It assumes that the rotation of the earth slows, such that each day is no longer 24 hours long, but is getting longer and longer.<br/><br/>It's an interesting twist on the usual coming of age tale - coming of age in the midst of a calamity. And there are elements that are most thought provoking. However, there is a fundamental lack of scientific understanding at the heart of this story. In the first instance, the slowing isn't noticed until 56 minutes have been added to the night. Not to the day, just the night. This is announced on the news and suddenly this change is noticeable to everyone and over both days and nights. Then there are the physical effects of this - gravity seems to have increased. Even I know that gravity has little to do with the rotation of the earth. The far more likely effect of the slowing - a change in the magnetic field of the earth - doesn't kick in until mid way through the book. And I found it impossible to suspend disbelief enough to ignore the highly questionable scientific basis for the book. Seeing Julia is still at school, I'll mark this D - should have done some homework first.