Review: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

17908642Title: The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Publication Date:  June 2012 (Simon & Schuster UK)
Pages: 369
Genre: Contemporary
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones|  |Book Depository|

Luminous, haunting, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles is a stunning fiction debut by a superb new writer, a story about coming of age during extraordinary times, about people going on with their lives in an era of profound uncertainty.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old 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.

With spare, graceful prose and the emotional wisdom of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker has created a singular narrator in Julia, a resilient and insightful young girl, and a moving portrait of family life set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world. [Goodreads]

It’s been a long while since I have read a book that has left me in such awe. The last novel that has done that is a novel that I don’t actually own but borrowed from the library and that was Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zavin.

Back a few couple of years, I went to my first book event. I went to meet Lauren Oliver at Piccadilly Waterstones. I remember everything – the uncontrollable smile to the shaking wreck that I was when I met her to the next day maths test (that I subsequently failed). Anyway, during her discussion there was a question about recommendations and she said The Age of Miracles. I made my friend make a note of it, because my memory is really horrific, but since then it has been a novel that I’ve really wanted to read. Flash to the future, and HUZZAAAH, I finally have my longing hands on it and I have finally read it. And now, like many other novels that I love, I have to try and review it and I know it will bring the book no justice.

Eleven year old Julia narrates the novel as the worlds rotation is suddenly slowing down. Everyone starts to panic as the days and nights are getting longer, the gravity starts to shift and the world seems to come to a halt.

The subtly in this novel is what I enjoyed the most. It felt so real. I can’t even describe it. After a couple of pages, I ended up confusing myself with fiction and reality and then I suddenly felt like the world was truly slowing down in real life. The atmosphere engulfed me. It was so beautifully written I can’t even think of a way to fault it.

Julia is thrown through so many situations throughout this novel and where sometimes I felt that Julia was very mature for her age, when you juxtaposition the situation, it isn’t at all surprising. With the world having a huge meltdown, she has to quickly adjust to everything around her and she does find a way to be independent. The contrast between her family members gave a small insight to the idea of the different reactions that might happen if the world truly was slowing down. And through her eyes we see the most because of her curiosity and open mindedness that we have when we are younger; it wouldn’t have been the same read if it was from an older narrator and that’s what makes this book more interesting.

When I finished the novel, I had a wave of content. It’s a novel that I will be recommending forever.

My rating
I really liked it

4 cup

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