Tuesday 31 July 2012

The Age of Miracles

Finished July 31
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

This novel started from a bit of news, one I also had noted and wondered at. The news was that we had to add a second to the year to adjust for a change in the time of rotation. Walker took that idea, and ran with it. In this novel, the change is much more than a second, and it goes on increasing each day, leading to huge societal changes. At the centre of the book is Julia, 11 years old and living in California. Julia finds that relationships change. She has never had a lot of friends, but the change in time leads quickly to changes in her friendships. She also sees it in the relationships of those around her. As the novel progresses and the changes accummulate, we see the effect they have.
Some people try to stick to doing things with the sun, even as the days grow impossibly long and create communities apart from the rest of society. Julia adjusts to doing things in the dark sometimes and sleeping in the light. We see the effect on energy use and food supply. We see how people are trying to find solutions even as they don't know the cause of the "slowing".
I found myself drawn in to Julia and her experiences, particularly those around friendships and her relationship with her grandfather. When she struggles with whether to keep secrets, I identified with her conflicted feelings. Along with everything else, Julia is experiencing her first love, and trying to figure out how to behave about it. She is a very engaging young woman who has interesting observations on the world as it is changing.
I was lucky to get an Indiespensable copy of this, in a nicely boxed edition, which included an interview with the author, providing interesting background to her process in the creation of this novel.
A great read that gets you thinking, what would I do? I think this book would appeal to teens as well as adults.

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