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The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker Full-disclosure: I love anything with an apocalyptic slant, so I was predisposed to like this book. I was very intrigued when I read the description of "The Age of Miracles," with its unique premise of an Earth whose rotation is slowing down.

The story is narrated by Julia, now a young woman, but ten years old at the time the world first realizes what is happening to Earth. We never learn why the Earth has slowed, but nevertheless, the implications are profound. Many of them seem obvious: dying of crops, drastic swings in temperature, etc. Others were more creative on the part of Karen Thompson Walker, such as: should days continue to be counted as 24 hours, or should they expand as the rotation slows?

Walker's writing style is warm, tender, and very low-key. Sometimes surprisingly low-key; characters adapted fairly quickly to what is seemingly the end of the world. Many reviews referred to this book as a coming of age story. I didn't see that aspect. Yes, when the events begin, Julia is a young girl, and yes, she eventually purchases a bra, but that does not equate to a coming of age story. Even though the present day Julia is a young woman, the events were supposed to be portrayed through the eyes of a child, but Julia's thought processes seemed too mature for even a person twice her age. I continued to forget that she was supposed to be a child, and I wondered if I'd somehow missed Julia transforming into a middle-aged woman.

This was a fairly minor quibble, though, and was more than made up for by Walker's lovely writing. I would probably have enjoyed more a raucous, wild end of the world story, but there is something to be said for a quiet, elegant apocalypse.