Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker

288 pages

Eleven-year-old Julia is a single child who feels like she doesn't quite fit in anywhere. She has only one real friend, and, at home, her parents are beginning to fight more and more. Then the unbelievable happens. After a massive earthquake, the rotation of the Earth begins to slow down. Scientists are at a loss to figure out how to fix it. The days and nights grow longer. Friends and neighbors begin to turn on each other as some people, dubbed "clock-timers," stick with the 24-hour day while others--the "real-timers"--live by the sun, and each group grows suspicious of the other. Readers see it all through the eyes of Julia, who is coming of age in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. 

This is very different from all the other apocalyptic fiction I've read, but I liked it. It's much more literary than I expected. Since we're seeing things from the perspective of a child, we don't get as much information about the scientific side of things or how the Slowing is affecting the rest of the world. I was curious about those things, but it fits with the point of view and it let me use my imagination a little, which was fun. I usually don't care for inconclusive endings, but I felt like it worked really well in this novel. The whole thing, actually, just seemed to flow and fit together perfectly. It felt like a real story, like something that could really happen, and Julia felt like a real girl. I certainly related to her on several levels. That, and the beautiful writing, make it one that I'm going to be recommending to a lot of people. 

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