"The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker


Eleven-year-old Julia is dealing with the trials and turmoil that comes with being an adolescent girl when life takes an extraordinary turn.  One Saturday morning, Julia and her family along with the rest of the world awake to discover that the rotation of the earth has begun to slow.  At first, they don't think much of i, but as time goes on the days and nights become longer and the world begins to feel the disastrous effects.

As the light begins to last for days then weeks at a time, the birds and plants to begin to die.  People take ill from what is only known as the sickness.  Neighbours become divided between those who go by the clock and those who go by real time and soon turn against each other.  But life goes on and Julia must continue to navigate middle school, friendships and her first love as she adjusts to the uncertainty of the new normal.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker is an extraordinary debut novel set apart by its original concept and beautiful writing.  It examines the tenderness and intricacies of life set in a time of catastrophe.  The book shows that it is during the upheavals that we really see the beauty and simplicity of it all.  

This book has been given quite a few labels since it was released, two of the biggest being YA and Speculative Fiction.  What I found most beautiful about this book was the way it transcends labels and genres.  As I read the book I wondered if I was reading a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a dystopian future or was I reading a dystopian novel through the eyes of a young girl.  The answer is both.  Both themes are connected in ways I haven't seen in a novel and they create a beautiful story that I feel can't be labelled as one genre.  So don't let those things scare you off if you don't typically read those kinds of books.  

The concept behind this book is such an incredible one - the rotation of the earth begins to slow.  It's not an immediate disaster, it doesn't result in immediate lawlessness.  The characters have the time to wrap their heads around what is going on and adjust as best as they can.  It really takes the reader inside the story as you become totally convinced that this could actually happen.  

I love that Karen Thompson Walker chose an eleven year old girl to be the protagonist of this story.  Children have such a different view than adults and if it had been through the eyes of an adult, I think it would have had a lot more anxiety and worry to it.  But by having the protagonist tell the story, looking back at the year she was eleven years old when it all began, we're able to see it through someone who is able to view it with wonder, who finds the politics of the middle school bus stop just as important as the rotation of the earth.

This is the first book I have read this year that I have given five stars to.  The writing is beautiful and captivates the reader through the entire book.  And it's one of the most unique stories I've read in a while.  I'm in awe of the fact that this is a debut novel and I look forward to what is next for Karen Thompson Walker.


I received this book courtesy of Random House of Canada.  The opinions expressed above are purely my own.

Comments

  1. I really hope to read this book soon. It sounds my kind of thing. And since it's a 5star book for you, I must try it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm pretty discerning when it comes to my stars! I hope you enjoy it, it's very deserving of all the buzz it's getting

    ReplyDelete

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