READ THIS BOOK.
This could be my shortest review ever, as The Age of Miracles IS the most satisfying book I've had the pleasure to read for quite some time. I was mesmerised; whipped through it and rapidly passed on to family and friends pronto - plus I've recommended it to practically everyone I've met.
But don't just take my word for it. This debut novel by Karen Thompson-Walker was sold for one million pounds in one of the most competitive literary auctions ever.
So what's it all about? Bear with me and keep an open mind as I tell you it'll probably sit in the Sci-Fi/ Doomsday section of the bookstore. First off, The Age of Miracles is original. Its premise (end of the world) avoids all clichés with an imaginative, alarming yet realistically crafted scenario of our planet going haywire and utterly altering our everyday world.
One morning, Julia and her parents wake in their suburban Californian home to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is beyond comprehension. As the periods of daylight then darkness grow ever longer, 'normal' life takes on new challenges. "The Slowing" brings gravitational change; birds start dropping out of the skies, whales beach and die as the tides ebb and yaw. Crops are affected by the change in sun hours, withering and dying. Food shortages loom; panic becomes chaos and the divide between those who have and those who don't becomes a gulf.
All too soon, the human race splinters into two distinct sets; those adjusting to the government prescribed (24 hour) 'clock-time' and the outcast 'real-timers', who rise with the sun and go to bed by the moon to become society's lepers.
Meanwhile, 12 year old Julia is grappling with emotional changes in her own life. Her parents' cool relationship becomes more fissured; as her mother succumbs to a terrifying new illness, 'the syndrome', Julia uncovers her Dad's double life. Her 'rock', her stoic grand-father suddenly vanishes; has he defected to live with the real-timers in the desert colony? Her best friends scatter as circumstances force them away.
School, boys, friendships are challenged as she struggles to
navigate an ever-shifting landscape. Amidst the awkwardness of
adolescence, Julia faces deep loneliness and despair as her
community crumbles around her.
The Age of Miracles is a beaut; poignant and sad, yet underlain with a flare of hope that science may find a way. But does it? This story feels utterly plausible and definitely provides food for thought. Don't hesitate to read it!
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson-Walker.
Publisher: Penguin NZ
Available: 21 June 2012