2014 EVENTS:
Holly Bourne, Non Pratt and James Dawson - 30th October
Becca Fitzpatrick - 15th November

Sunday, 19 October 2014

REVIEW: The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker

Sunday, 19 October 2014
GENRE: Adult/YA Crossover
PAGES: 400
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster
FORMAT: Hardback
BUY IT: Waterstones

'It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown...' What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day becomes night and night becomes day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on an eleven-year-old girl, grappling with emotional changes in her own life..? One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.

In The Age of Miracles the world is beginning to change. The rotation of the Earth how slowed and is aptly being known at 'The Slowing'. Days and nights are growing longer and so is the gap between social groups - the Government rules that people should keep to the 24 hour 'clock time' to keep the economy stable and society running as normal as possible. But there are those who don't want to live like this, they are those who keep the days for waking and nights for sleeping. This story focuses on Julia, an 11 year old girl whose family tries to stay as normal as possible during the slowing. It is also her coming-of-age story, she struggles with the pressure of school and friends groups, and also noticing boys for the first time.

It's hard to describe The Age of Miracles without mentioning 2012 and our fears that the Earth is supposed to end this year, but in so many ways this is not what it is about. It is not post-apocolyptic. Yes, the physical world is changing faster than man can adapt, but life hasn't changed. What Walker does is create a novel that personifies our fears but makes it as human as possible. There is still love, heatbreak, childish bullying, but there is something so much more. It is just the world that is changing, not the people. Society still functions in the way it always has; we are selfish, over-bearing, and quick to judge those who don't want to follow along in our lifestyles.

The Age of Miracles shows that no matter how far man has progressed with its technology, its ability to change things for our own purposes, we have forgotten that we are a part of, and created by, the natural world. Our ancestors understood that we are part of something so much bigger and Walker's novel shows how we are convinced we are the most important things in the solar system. Having said this, Man is also portrayed as some that is physically weak but continues to move. It doesn't give up. Every time a month moves in the space of a few physical days the reader is waiting for the world to end, and yet the story keeps moving. People keep going to work, children going to school, hearts falling in love.

I loved this book, I love anything post-apocalyptic. We hear things from scientists all the time about what we are doing to the world, and The Age of Miracles explores this in its extreme. Of course it is just one possibility of our future as a planet, but it feels almost real, as if this could happen at any time. It is also important to mention the science behind this book. It is obviously well researched and brings to light many things that we overlook as changing in our lives - it is a powerful and thought provoking novel.

- Bex.

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