Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker: A Review

The Age of MiraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this novel primarily because of the buzz but also because it is set in San Diego where Walker grew up(and where I now live).

The Age of Miracles follows Julia, a young girl on the cusp of adolescence in a world on the cusp of collapse. Julia's San Diego looks a lot like mine except for the one small detail that her earth has suddenly started to turn more slowly: days swelling by minutes at first and then by hours, circadian rhythms interrupted by pervasive daylight and, alternately, agonizingly long stretches of darkness.

The premise of time somehow slowing has tremendous literary potential...from the obvious plot possibilities to metaphor, and I believe the best moments in this novel are when Julia
ponders the larger and more esoteric implications of "the slowing": "From then on, we all had little more time to decide what not to do. And who knows how fast a second-guess can travel. Who has ever measured the exact speed of regret?"

It is, by turns a coming of age story, a love story, and the story of a family, all set against an incredibly innovative dystopian backdrop.

My only complaint is that the set-up makes the end nearly impossible to pull off without tremendous tragedy or an improbable solution. Walker does a fine job, but not perfect, and I felt just the tiniest bit disappointed.(Though I honestly have no idea how she could have made it any better.)

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this and think it would have an enormous YA appeal as well.

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