Quick Book Review: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
December 27, 2012 12 Comments
Number of pages: 256 (my Dutch edition)
First published: 2012
Genre: science fiction, apocalypse
I got this book: from the library (Dutch edition: Wij waren hier).
I love books in which the world is no longer as we know it (post-apocalyptic or dystopian novels). In The Age of Miracles, the reader is present when the changes start: the rotation of the earth is slowing down, with as a result that the days become longer. First only about an hour is added to the day, but slowly but surely, the days become extremely long, up to 60 hours or more.
Julia is a twelve-year old who lives with her parents and has a secret crush on a boy from school, Seth Moreno. The story is told by an older Julia, looking back on her youth. The slowing of the earth has all kinds of effects. For instance, crops won’t grow because they spend too long in the sun (longer days) or too long in the dark (longer nights). Some people become ill with a new illness, related to the changing situation.
The main effect is, that most people follow the government’s instruction and continue living a 24-hour schedule. This schedule is no longer related to the rotation of the earth, so in the middle of the night it can be completely light, whereas on another day, it can be dark, or nearly dawn. A dissident group of people want to live by the “real time” day and try to stay awake while it is light, sleeping when it is dark. Soon, they are being discriminated against by the majority.
The book explores the further effects on the lives of people as the earth’s rotation slows more and more. I found this all very believable, although I was surprised how well society seemed to continue as before. Julia gets a little closer to her heart-throb Seth, but there wasn’t too much of a plot to the story.
The story ends in the “current” time, but the reader doesn’t get a good insight in what the situation is then, how the living conditions have changed compared to the time before the slowing. I loved reading the story until I got to the end and felt a little cheated. What now?
I very much liked the way this book explored a “What if” situation that no one could put right again. They had to adapt to the situation as well as they could. Only the ending was unsatisfactory to me, because the reader still doesn’t know what will happen to humanity according to the scenario in the book.