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The Age of Miracles [Paperback]

Karen Thompson Walker
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 3.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 May 2013
'It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophies are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown…' 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857207253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857207258
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A beautifully observed coming-of-age tale in the great American tradition ... nimble, delicate and emotionally sophisticated --Edward Docx, Observer

Hauntingly believable ... an impressive and quietly terrifying book --Alison Flood, Sunday Times

A surprisingly quiet, tender book with which many will fall in love --Ed Wood, welovethisbook.com

A powerful, mesmerising read --Woman & Home

This is not a bombastic disaster movie in book form, but a precise, localised view of dramatic change ... Thompson Walker skilfully marries the epic and the everyday: her young female narrator and Middle American setting brought to mind Alice Sebold s The Lovely Bones --The Times

A luminous, magical coming-of-age novel --Marie Claire

Gripping from the word go --Easy Living

A brilliant tale of a youngster growing up under extraordinary circumstances --Heat

A staggeringly impressive debut --Reader s Digest

Stunning in its originality, devastating in execution. The Age of Miracles is one of the most exciting debuts I ve read --Vogue

A quietly powerful and original novel --Psychologies

I asked my editor if I could give this books 6 stars out of 5. My favourite book of the year so far --Sunday Express

The book that will make you look good on the bus 5 stars, --Heat

Blending global catastrophe with a touching coming of age story, Karen Thompson Walker has created a truly remarkable novel you won t be able to stop thinking about --Good Housekeeping

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, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

What a remarkable and beautifully wrought novel. In its depiction of a world at once utterly like and unlike our own, The Age of Miracles is so convincingly unsettling that it just might make you stockpile emergency supplies of batteries and bottled water. It also thank goodness provides great solace with its wisdom, its compassion, and the elegance of its storytelling --Curtis Sittenfeld, author of American Wife

Miracles indeed. Karen Thompson Walker s debut novel is a stunner from the first page an end-of-the-world, coming-of-age tale of quiet majesty. I loved this novel and can t wait to see what this remarkable writer will do next --Justin Cronin, author of The Passage

A genuinely moving tale that mixes the real and the surreal, the ordinary and the extraordinary with impressive fluency and flair... her novel will remind many readers of Alice Sebold s 2002 novel The Lovely Bones... it, too, creates an elegiac portrait of an ordinary world, forever rocked by terrible events. Ms Walker has an instinctive feel for narrative architecture, creating a story, in lapidary prose, that moves ahead with a sense of both the inevitable and the unexpected... Ms Walker maps [the characters ] inner lives with such sure-footedness that they become as recognizable as people we ve grown up with... one of this summer s hot literary reads --Michiko Kakatuni, The New York Times

'This is not a bombastic disaster movie in book form, but a precise, localised view of dramatic change ... Thompson Walker skilfully marries the epic and the everyday: her young female narrator and Middle American setting brought to mind Alice Sebold s The Lovely Bones' --The Times

'A luminous, magical coming-of-age novel, set in a world where time becomes meaningless and the ordinary extraordinary' --Marie Claire

'Stunning in its originality, devastating in execution. The Age of Miracles is one of the most exciting debuts I've read' --Vogue

'A quietly powerful and original novel' --Psychologies

'I asked my editor if I could give this books 6 stars out of 5. My favourite book of the year so far' --Sunday Express

'The book that will make you look good on the bus' 5 stars --Heat

'A curious tale that s gripping from the word go' --Easy Living

'Blending global catastrophe with a touching coming of age story, Karen Thompson Walker has created a truly remarkable novel you won t be able to stop thinking about' --Joanne Finney, Good Housekeeping

'A perfectly contemplative read' --Cosmopolitan

'A powerful, unsettling but mesmerising read' --Woman & Home

'Vividly captures the changing world of a 10 year old girl, which is brilliantly mirrored by the apocalyptic changes in our world. An imaginative, haunting and gripping book by a very exciting debut author' --Observer

'A genuinely moving tale that mixes the real and the surreal, the ordinary and the extraordinary with impressive fluency and flair... her novel will remind many readers of Alice Sebold's 2002 novel The Lovely Bones... it, too, creates an elegiac portrait of an ordinary world, forever rocked by terrible events. Ms Walker has an instinctive feel for narrative architecture, creating a story, in lapidary prose, that moves ahead with a sense of both the inevitable and the unexpected... Ms Walker maps [the characters'] inner lives with such sure-footedness that they become as recognizable as people we've grown up with... one of this summer s hot literary reads' ----Michiko Kakatuni, The New York Times

'A genuinely moving tale that mixes the real and the surreal, the ordinary and the extraordinary with impressive fluency and flair... her novel will remind many readers of Alice Sebold's 2002 novel The Lovely Bones... it, too, creates an elegiac portrait of an ordinary world, forever rocked by terrible events. Ms Walker has an instinctive feel for narrative architecture, creating a story, in lapidary prose, that moves ahead with a sense of both the inevitable and the unexpected... Ms Walker maps [the characters'] inner lives with such sure-footedness that they become as recognizable as people we've grown up with... one of this summer s hot literary reads' --Michiko Kakatuni, The New York Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Karen Thompson Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. A former book editor, she wrote The Age of Miracles in the mornings before work. Born and raised in San Diego, California, she now lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian account of the apocalypse 4 May 2012
By J. Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Age of Miracles is the story of Julia, a young girl living in California when the Earth's rotation begins to slow down inexplicably. As days & nights become longer, society shifts to adapt to the new time scales but the ever increasing length of the rotation means that plants & animals begin to suffer. Gravity increases and causes earthquakes & inertia-induced sickness in people. Will there be an end to this paradigm-shift? Will Julia ever manage to get together with her crush Seth? Time (ever-lengthening) will tell...

AoM is an interesting concept from the get-go, but its juvenile perspective means that we never learn what has caused this or what science is doing to try and fix things. Rumours are constantly alluded to, but the author Karen Thompson Walker steers well clear of an actual explanation. Interesting in its description of the break-down of society but ultimately it's an account of a young girl getting her first training bra and her feelings about her parents, friends & first-crush - which is set at odds to the far more interesting situation unfolding around the characters.

Resultantly, this reads like a young girl's diary set to a back-drop of apocalypse. I would have liked more scientific substance, but that's me - I still feel compelled to warn you that this isn't an account of a decline into dystopia though, it's an extremely middle of the road read weighing in at a meagre 268 pages that focus on the musings of a child. If that appeals to you then fair enough, but I was much more intrigued about why birds were falling out of the sky, rather than watching Julia's parents marriage fail. Hope this helps make up your mind on this book!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great premise, but rather downhill from there 8 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback
Eleven-year-old Julia lives with her parents in California. This is the story of (about) a year in her life, as her parents' marriage flounders, as her crush on a boy develops into a pre-pubertal relationship, and as society begins to crumble due to the progressive slowing of the earth's rotation.

I was drawn to the book because of the Sci-Fi element but this was a mistake as the story is really more about Julia than the science.

Indeed, as the whole thing is told from Julia's point of view, we really learn nothing about why the earth is slowing down, or even why society is falling apart. Everything is viewed from the perspective of an 11-year-old girl. Which might be fine if you're a (pre-)teen or enjoy fiction written from that point of view.

Also, Julia's voice is a little too removed, a little too dispassionate. The story is told as though she is in her mid 20s, looking back to how she was when she was 11-12, what she felt, etc.

With some strong language, and references to things like "handjobs", I'm not sure it would suit readers under, say, 14. It's definitely a YA book so mature readers may be left wanting a lot more from it.

I loved the premise. For me, though, grafting a YA story onto a SF backdrop, and not telling us very much at all about the science, just didn't work.

5/5
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nicely written, but a disappointing story 3 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback
My main issue with this novel is that very little happens. I skim read the last third, knowing that by this point nothing exciting or even remotely interesting was likely to happen. The writing itself is lovely in parts, but cannot detract from the boring storyline. The 'slowing' is never explained, its effects on humans are equally unexplained and implausible, and the narrator and her family are dull. An interesting premise, but little beyond it. Another example of undeserved media hype.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The softest of soft science fiction 19 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you're the sort of reader who wants to know how the spaceship's hyperdrive works, this book will probably annoy you. If you're the sort of reader who wants to know how everybody on the spaceship is getting on with each other.... well, I loved this story!!!!

The "spaceship" is Planet Earth, and there's a problem; its rotation is slowing down. Extra minutes are added onto each day and night until by the end of the novel a single day is weeks long. The author dutifully notes all the side-effects this brings to the planet, and I agree that there are holes in her science, but that's not the main drive of the story.

It reminds me of a modern-day Californian version of a John Wyndham story (remember "Day Of The Triffids"?). A global disaster is happening, but it's happening very slowly and gradually, and meanwhile everybody goes about still trying to preserve their well-mannered middle-class life for as long as possible. It's very plausible - if this catastrophe ever did happen, I think First World residents probably would react and behave a lot like this.

The narrator, eleven-year-old Julia, still has Judy Blume-style angst about her need for a bra, the cute boy down the road, and why her best friend is not speaking to her anymore. She witnesses birds dropping out of the skies, aurora borealis coming down to the equator, and gets radiation burns from excess sunlight, but it's all told in the same matter-of-fact way as whether it's time to start shaving her legs.

After I'd read a few chapters in one go, I would be so drawn into it that when I emerged out of the house afterwards, I would have to actively remind myself that all the changes I'm seeing are fallout from the economic crisis, and NOT because the earth is slowing down. It really gripped my imagination! And I thought the ending was very sad and moving.

This is an atmosphere book, not a plot book, or a character book. Go with the atmosphere.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better
Eleven-year old Julia’s life turns upside-down when the rotation of the earth suddenly begins to slow. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Hannah Lewis
1.0 out of 5 stars This is a woeful account of a year in the ...
This is a woeful account of a year in the life of an eleven year old. I was under the impression that this would improve, perhaps an explanation of to why the earth slowed .... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars SCIENCE FICTION THAT I CAN UNDERSTAND
I really enjoyed this novel. The science in it-the slowing down of the rotation of the earth- was comprehensibly to me, and therefore I did not get bogged down in the scientific... Read more
Published 13 days ago by bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars About the need to move on with life, no matter how uncertain and...
"The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker is a well-made novel about one young girl who tries to overcome the inevitable changes in her life. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Denis Vukosav
3.0 out of 5 stars The end of the world... In a bit... Maybe...
I really, really thought I was going to enjoy this, and guess what? I was disappointed. It's not that it isn't a great premise for a story - it is - but it's really all downhill... Read more
Published 1 month ago by V. G. Harwood
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Written but Familiar Teen Themes
I read this in two sittings when it first came out, enjoying it while reading, and then promptly forgetting it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars The Age of Miracles
A beautiful and touching story. The story flowed and was an easy read. Looking forward to see what the author will come up with next. 5 stars.
Published 2 months ago by Teresa Jewett
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
I was hooked throughout.

Did not guess the ending.

Thought provoking.

Great book

Looking forward to more like this.

Thanks
Published 2 months ago by JanieP
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good read
I enjoyed reading this, you become quite attached to the main character. It did make me a little nervous and suddenly feel the need to stockpile on essentials!
Published 2 months ago by Leanne83
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provokjng
A book that really makes you think about the world we are creating and also the gentle story of a young girl trying to make sense of it all.
Published 3 months ago by michael oleary
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