The Age of Miracles

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Without spoiling anything, I can say that the book begins with the m Most books I read a book serve as a form of escapism, a little welcome holiday from life. Without spoiling anything, I can say that the book begins with the mass-realisation that the earth's spin is slowing down. The phenomenon is termed The Slowing. I read the book in half a week, and found myself nervously watching the skies more than once over those few days.

Was it me, or was the sunsetting very late? Did the moon look particularly orange and large, or did it always look like that at this time of year? The premise behind the book is fantastic. A quarter of the way through, I was sure this would be a 5-star rating only my second for a novel on Goodreads. The writing is great. The main character, being an year-old girl, is the perfect heroine, insofar as the writer can never get TOO scientific, which suits the reader. There is enough science here to deal with, but it never gets annoyingly-complicated. But I had one major gripe with the book.


A third of the way through, I was waiting for the main plot to start. Two-thirds of the way through, I was still waiting. And at the end, it became apparent that there was to be no main story-line, apart from The Slowing, and how it effected everyone and everything over the course of a year. More of a memoir, than a novel. Now, perhaps this was what the author intended. Maybe she thought that The Slowing was story enough in itself. And maybe she was right. I still was excited to get back to the book every night, and I enjoyed almost every part of it.

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But there was the odd time where I felt a little patronised for example, the effect on the tides was repeatedly explained, as if the reader mightn't have grasped it the first time and most chapters began with a discription of some new effect The Slowing was having, all of which was interesting, but became a little repetitive.

Had there been another narrative, a main storyline running through the book, I think The Miracle of Ages would have been a 5 star rating. But even as it is, I would highly recommend it, especially to anyone with an interest in science or the environment. A great read. View all 10 comments. Jan 15, Emily Crowe rated it liked it. This is the story of how we begin to remember.

Well, no, not really. But that particular Paul Simon lyric has been swirling in my head this morning and I was just itching to use it. This is actually the story of the day the earth stood still, uhh, slowed down. And the days after that, and the days after that. Nobody knows why the earth's rotation has slowed, but Julia is eleven the day this discovery is announced on the news, with varying degrees of panic.

At first the effect is This is the story of how we begin to remember. At first the effect is subtle, resulting in a few extra minutes each day, but before long there is a worldwide dilemma on how to handle the growing length of days--and there is much debate whether to follow the hour clock time of old, or to establish "real time" that coincides with each new solar day. The first indication that the world might be headed for end times is the demise of the birds.

The new gravity from the slowed rotation has crippled their ability to fly and navigate. Next, the magnetic field changes and weather becomes unpredictable. Newly erected greenhouses powered by sunlamps deplete the energy grids. Clearly it's only a matter of time before all food sources will disappear. In the meantime, Julia is just trying to make sense of what is happening in her personal life amidst these larger world turmoils. Her best friend's family moves away to join a desert Mormon collective in Utah. Her unrequited crush finally approaches her.

Her mother succumbs to gravitational sickness. Her father may or may not be having an affair with a "real timer. In other, other words, this is a coming-of-age, pre-apocalyptic novel. I think I just coined the word "pre-apocalyptic. The book is, overall I liked it. I didn't rock my world; there were no profound insights into the human experience; and at no point was the prose so spectacular that I wanted to read something a second time in order to savor it. It's simply a quick and easy read with a moderately interesting premise, but I'm a little perplexed about the pre-publicity buzz surrounding this book.

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Since this is a debut novel and not a particularly brilliant one I that, I just have to wonder if the publishing world's head is up its collective arse. You can't read a major newspaper these days without coming across an article touting the demise of the book world as we know it. And it's moves likes this, which are questionable at best and asinine at worse, that makes me doubt both publishing's business acumen and sense of value. Which of course means that this book will probably be a raging bestseller and a major motion picture and I am just the lone voice in the wilderness who questions it all.

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The Age of Miracles

Jun 19, Julie Christine rated it liked it Shelves: read , usa-contemporary , imagined-worlds. I don't live in a vacuum. I know this is one of the most talked about books of the summer. Big displays in bookstores, frequent author appearances on my favorite public radio station cultural programming, reviews in my newspapers and journals of choice that I didn't read - by the way - so I wouldn't spoil my experience.

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So hard I did try to consider this book on its own merits, without expectations. But I'm human. Given the hype, I'm gonna hope for a miracle. Okay, maybe not a miracle. B Look. But something really extraordinary. Which this isn't. I'm so confused. The earth's rotation is inexplicably slowing, leading to hours of night, hours of bright day, throwing the universe out of temporal, circadian, climactic whack.

Gravity is affected, birds cannot fly, fish cannot swim. Crops fail, cults flourish, communities collapse.

But soccer practice goes on. It's a brilliant premise and Thompson Walker does a superb job of presenting this disaster and its unfolding consequences without miring the book down in scientific explanations. I don't need to know why the slowing is happening; I'm ready to believe that our destruction of the planet can extend into our solar system. I am, therefore, disappointed by the author's heavy-handed foreshadowing. Frequent sentences with "It was the last time we Now that I've read several published reviews, let me dispel the widespread notion this story is told from the point of view of an year old narrator, Julia.

It isn't. It's told by something Julia, looking back on the first year when the earth's rotation decelerated. Which changes everything this book is suggested to be - a coming of age story, a unique perspective of a young girl as the world begins a slow collapse around her. That misperception is not the author's fault.

But by choosing to tell the story from many years' distance, Karen Thompson Walker does present the reader with an unreliable narrator.

The Age of Miracles Book Review | Plugged In

Are we expected to trust Julia's memory of how her limited community - her neighborhood, her school, her family - reacted to "the slowing"? Even more to the point, because this is a book far more concerned with human nature than its sci-fi premise would suggest, are we to trust older Julia's recounting of the relationships as she observed and participated in them?

Had the author truly wanted us to live in Julia's moment, she would have let the little girl speak in her own voice, not via the sophisticated redaction presented by her adult self. I can't quite figure out if this is meant to be Young Adult fiction. If year old Julia were truly the narrator, I'd say a definitive "Yes". But Julia's voice and her perceptions don't ring true in so young a girl.

Given her neighborhood, her home life - she's just not as sophisticated as her something self tries to portray her. Yet, the emotional dimensions of this novel are too simplistic for adult literary fiction. It's all so muddley. There is some extraordinary writing here. We did not sense at first the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath skin.

We were distracted back then by weather and war. We had no interest in the turning of the earth. Bombs continued to explode on the streets of distant countries. Hurricanes came and went. Summer ended. A new school year began. The clocks ticked as usual.

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