The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker
Scenario: As Julia approaches her twelfth birthday in sunny California, the planet enters a mysterious “slowing,” and everything about her world — and the world — changes.
- I think the lack of explanation behind the slowing actually works. Because if the plot is that the problem is unfixable, then why dive into shaky explanations?
- Julia, as a narrator, reminded me a lot of Prep’s Lee Fiora: wide-eyed, lonely, but not despairing — and it helps that Julia, too, is reflecting on her adolescence from her twenties. It was an unexpected but welcome parallel. This backward-looking perspective, with its frequent foreboding, lent both an added layer of melancholy and the occasional cold chill.
- I was surprised by how hard the people in this book clung to normalcy. That’s definitely a possibility, no doubt, but so many post-apocalyptic books move at a breakneck pace to dismantle society. Julia’s dying world languishes on for years, and this seemed strange (though compelling) to me.
Bottom Line: I’d sooner recommend this to a fan of literary fiction than a post-apocalyptic sci fi devotee, and its marketing as adult, rather than YA, despite superficial resemblances to lots of popular YA novels (and its young narrator), is absolutely appropriate.