Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker


Reviewed by Christine-Chioma

Published: 2012

It's about: The rotation of the earth suddenly begins to slow making daylight last longer and longer. The effects impact gravity, the environment, people's health--all aspects of life. Julia, a tween living in California, narrates the novel and focuses on the effects of the slowing on her family, life and world.

I thought: I really liked this book; although, at first, I thought that the narrator did not sound like a middle-school girl but then I realized the book was reflections she was having several years after the events. Nonetheless, due to the plot and a teenage girl protagonist, it reminded me a lot of the young adult novel, Life As We Knew It, which I also really enjoyed.

I am not ordinarily interested in science fiction, but the science fiction elements weren't the focus of the book. It was mainly about how humanity reacts to change, the expectations we have of others, what motivates people to behave the way they do, loss, growing up, realizing your parents are not perfect and generally the purpose of life. I like that the exploration of these issues wasn't heavy handed. The author allows readers to make their own conclusions. The writing is really crisp--it's a quick read and no words are wasted.

Verdict: Stick it on the shelf or Rubbish Bin? Stick it on the Shelf!

Reading Recommendations: I am sad I missed going to my book club when they discussed this book because it would be a fun one to talk about. I guess all good books are! Carry on.

Warnings: A few swears.

Favorite excerpts:

"I had grown into a worrier, a girl on constant guard for catastrophes large and small, for the disappointments I now sensed were hidden all around us right in plain sight."

"After the slowing, every action required a little more force than it used to. The physics had changed. Take, for example, the slightly increased drag of a hand on a knife or a finger on a trigger. From then on, we all had a little more time to decide what not to do. And who knows how fast a second-guess can travel? Who has ever measured the exact speed of regret? But the new gravity was not enough to overcome the pull of certain other forces, more powerful, less known--no law of physics can can account for desire".

"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 like to think about how my parents' lives once shimmered in fron tof them, half-hidden, like buried gold. Back then the future was whatever they imagined--and they never imagined this. "

"I've become a collector of stories about unlikely returns: the sudden reappearance of the long-lost son, the father found, the lovers reunited after forty years. Once in a while, a letter does fall behind a post office desk and lie there for years before it's finally discovered and delivered to the rightful address. The seemingly brain-dead sometimes wake up and start talking. I'm always on the lookout for proof that what is done can sometimes be undone."

What I'm reading next: What I Did by Christopher Walking