The Age of Miracles
by Karen Thompson Walker
“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
This was an interesting and slightly scary book. Not in the same way that an slasher horror film is scary (ie. people's heads being chopped off, etc!) but in a very realistic way. What I mean is that I could actually picture the events of this book happening. Totally and completely. Walker took a really cool post-apocalyptic concept and gave it a very real "life" through her story.
When the earth begins to slow, there are very real and evident consequences. Julia's family can see the days lengthening and her mother, especially, freaks out about what will happen...is this the beginning of the end? Then as the world continues to go on, they, like everyone else try to move on with their lives, but find that every day brings new little, almost unseen consequences of the slowing.
As Julia tries to process what's happening on a larger scale, she finds herself distracted by the things in her own neighborhood. Little slices of life that reflect what readers know is occurring around the globe. Julia's parents' marriage starts to fall apart. The boy she was afraid to talk to suddenly becomes a friend. Her best friend seems to no longer be a part of her life.
In the most realistic way, Walker reminds readers that life is not easy. Things are not just right or wrong, black or white, easy or hard. Every day, you just have to keep trying...keep facing the challenges of the day...keep moving on.
*Very similar in feel to Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It.