My thoughts: I found the premise of this novel fascinating: what happens to our world when something so simple we rarely think about, the Earth's rotation, begins to change? It's a future I had not contemplated. As Thompson Walker writes in the novel's early pages:
"There was no footage to show on television, no burning buildings or broken bridges, no twisted metal or scorched earth, no houses sliding off slabs. No one was wounded. No one was dead. It was, at the beginning, a quite invisible catastrophe."The change seems so minor: each day there is more daylight, followed by more nighttime. One of the initial casualties is time: do we stay on the same 24 hour clock when the middle of the night may come in the afternoon or stay on the clock of the sun? These issues were fascinating to me, and the very real-ness of the situation left me contemplating which side I would take.
As the novel progressed, however, I grew somewhat bored. I wanted more than anecdotes about what the news and our leaders were saying. Through Julia, the reader sees how differently her parents react to the slowing, but I longed for more. I wanted to dig deeper into detail, the experiences of more people, and the experiences of others around the country and the world. Julia mentions a few times how lucky they are to be in Southern California, but I wanted to know more about how others fared.
While it's clear from the beginning of the novel that Julia is telling the story from the future, the increasing foreshadowing led me to believe there was momentum building. Ultimately, I was disappointed by how underdeveloped the wonderful idea for this novel was. It read more like a children's or teen novel, which will appeal to some readers.
Favorite passage: "But I guess it never is what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different--unimagined, unprepared for, unknown."
The verdict: Despite a strong premise and strong writing, The Age of Miracles fell flat for me. As the sole narrator, Julia let me down. I cared less about the impact on her young life than I did on the world as a whole. I was left with more questions; I wanted Thompson Walker to explore more. The vision of the new reality was so narrow, and I wished for more world building.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Length: 289 pages
Publication date: June 26, 2012
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