Synopses & Reviews
With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones,
and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles
is a luminous, haunting, and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.
“It still amazes me how little we really knew....Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life — the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
"In this gripping debut, 11-year-old Julia wakes one day to the news that the earth's rotation has started slowing. The immediate effects no one at soccer practice; relentless broadcasts of the same bewildered scientists soon feel banal compared to what unfolds. 'The slowing' is growing slower still, and soon both day and night are more than twice as long as they once were. When governments decide to stick to the 24-hour schedule (ignoring circadian rhythms), a subversive movement erupts, 'real-timers' who disregard the clock and appear to be weathering the slowing better than clock-timers at first. Thompson's Julia is the perfect narrator. On the brink of adolescence, she's as concerned with buying her first bra as with the birds falling out of the sky. She wants to be popular as badly as she wants her world to remain familiar. While the apocalypse looms large has in fact already arrived the narrative remains fiercely grounded in the surreal and horrifying day-to-day and the personal decisions that persist even though no one knows what to do. A triumph of vision, language, and terrifying momentum, the story also feels eerily plausible, as if the problems we've been worrying about all along pale in comparison to what might actually bring our end. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME Entertainment. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"[Walker's] voice turns what might have been just a clever mash-up of disaster epic with sensitive young-adult, coming-of-age story into a genuinely moving tale that mixes the real and surreal, the ordinary and the extraordinary with impressive fluency and flair." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"The Age of Miracles spins its glowing magic through incredibly lucid and honest prose, giving equal care and dignity to the small spheres and the large. It is at once a love letter to the world as we know it and an elegy." Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
"Gripping from first page to last, The Age of Miracles is itself a small, perfectly formed miracle: Written with the cadence and pitch of poetry, this gem of a novel is a wrenching and all-too-believable parable for our times, and one of the most original coming-of-age stories I have ever read. Karen Thompson Walker is the real deal." Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion
"Walker captures each moment, intimate and universal, with magical precision. Riveting, heartbreaking, profoundly moving." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"The Age of Miracles is pure magnificence. Deeply moving and beautifully executed, Karen Thompson Walker has written the perfect novel for the global-warming age." Nathan Englander, author of What We Talk About When We Talk about Anne Frank
About the Author
Karen Thompson Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program and a recipient of the 2011 Sirenland Fellowship as well as a Bomb magazine fiction prize. A former editor at Simon & Schuster, she wrote The Age of Miracles in the mornings before work. Born and raised in San Diego, she now lives in Brooklyn with her husband. The Age of Miracles is her first book.