Reading The Age of Miracles is like having your feet stuck in cement and watching a slow train coming toward you. You can't escape certain demise. Because of the title, I kept expecting a miracle. Where was the super human who comes up with a solution? What I got was the meticulously chronicled demise of the earth from an eleven-year-old girl's perspective.
As the Earth's rotation slows, the weather, magnetic fields, and plant and animal life are affected. Slowly, the weaker beings start to die off, first the birds, then other plants and animals. Humans, being the ingenious creatures, try to work around these insane problems. But as the problems grow worse, they can't keep up.
Meanwhile, Julia's life, however dull, goes on. She has a massive crush on Seth, a neighborhood boy, but she is shy. Her father, a work-a-holic, is never home. Her mother is bored and wants Julia's company.
Overall, I found reading The Age of Miracles a little bit painful. It's a terribly sad story. The Earth is dying, yet humans cling to their rules and try to continue living their lives of consumption. We readers understand that unless there is a miracle, human existence, Julia's existence, cannot last long. So why subject us to the slow steady demise of a child's life?
I don't know the author's point in writing the book; perhaps it's a study of how people would act under extreme circumstances. Whatever the case, while I felt the prose and writing was wonderful, I found the book depressing.
With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.
“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.