Title: The Age of Miracles (Goodreads)
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Published: Simon & Schuster, 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
My Copy: Paperback
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository, Kindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)
I know everyone seems to be reading this novel and I try not to follow the crowd, but this book sounded too good to pass up. The Age of Miracles tells the story of eleven year old Julia and her experience in a drastic change to the world that could be the start of the apocalypse. The world is slowing down and the days are getting longer, first by a few minutes and then by hours. Julia is trying to recount the events of this difficult time; both the end of the world and being a teenager.
This is a wonderful blend of a coming of age story with a back drop of a speculative novel. Amongst the chaos and people not knowing what to do, you have a Julia talking about her journey into adulthood. But does it work? Personally I would have liked to know more about the world slowing and the speculative fiction elements, but I think the blend between young adult and genre fiction was masterfully done.
My biggest problem with this book and it’s one of my literary bête noires in post apocalypse and dystopian fiction is that Karen Thompson Walker writes this book in first person past tense. This gives me a sense of knowing what will happen in the end and there is no way to build tension. But this is only a minor issue in a book like this because this more a beautiful novel of self discovery and growing up.
Karen Thompson Walker writes with such elegance and beauty that I was surprised to find this was a debut novel. Her skill of mixing YA with speculative fiction and then making it into something that I would consider literature was just done brilliantly. She has such skill of not overshadowing the coming of age elements with the chaos of the world around her. I was surprised at how fast I read this book, I was fully immersed in this book and the beauty of what I was reading I was a little sad to see it end.
I can’t recommend this book enough; Julia was a wonderful protagonist and her journey was delightful. The Age of Miracle doesn’t give you any answers but cleverly revels what is going on without forcing anything on the reader. It’s a fascination novel with really needs to be experienced firsthand. Sure the science of the slowing would be interesting to read about but it would never work in a book like this. I must admit I look forward to see what Karen Thompson Walker does next and would be interested to find a book similar to this gem.