The Age of Miracles

Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles
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The Age of Miracles

Karen Thompson Walker

‘It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophies are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown…’ One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.

Review

Julia is 11 years old when the slowing is announced by experts. That night, the world clock gains 56 minutes due to the slowing of the Earth on its axis. As the Earth continues to slow, minutes and then hours are added to each day. At first people go about their business, but as the clock reaches a 30 hour day, world leaders decide to revert to the 24-hour clock in the hope that life can remain normal. But this decision sees the dividing of society as some people refuse the 24-hour clock and instead choose to follow their circadian rhythm, while others start to get strange symptoms they believe are caused by the slowing.

While all of this is going on, Julia is simply trying to grow up. A loner with few to no friends, Julia dreams of a sad boy at school and deals with some harsh realisations, including that people can disappoint and betray each other. She must also face the fact that just because the world is slowly killing itself and humanity doesn’t mean that she, or anyone else, can give up. Told from the perspective of Julia in her 20s, The Age of Miracles is a scary yet touching coming-of-age novel. Highly recommended for readers 13 and up.


Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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