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The Age of Miracles Hardcover – 26 Jun 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 26 Jun 2012
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House USA (26 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812983602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812983609
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,720,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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 an alternate 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. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Morris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 May 2012
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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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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By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Age of Miracles is a book of ideas. Many of those ideas bear more than a passing resemblance to the far superior Testament Of Jessie Lamb, longlisted for the 2011 Booker Prize.

We find a teenage girl, Julia, coming into adulthood against a backdrop of a slowly unfolding apocalypse. The world's rotation is slowing day by day: days and nights are becoming longer and there's nothing anyone can do about it. This is an interesting premise, all the more so for the absence of giant tidal waves heading for the Californian coast whilst the American emergency services undertake a massive relocation exercise under the personal direction of the president.

So, as noted above, there are parallels with Jane Rogers's 2011 The Testament of Jessie Lamb. Both novels feature a teenage girl coming to growing awareness of her body, love and paternal betrayal (and both fathers were doctors). Both novels portray an impending apocalypse that people variously try to ignore or adapt to - with the focus very much on maintaining the standard of living for as long as possible, even if it is bound to end in ruins. But The Testament Of Jessie Lamb really elevated itself into serious literature by providing a clear parallel between the dystopian world of the novel and real world issues - particularly how far one generation should feel obliged to sacrifice itself for a future generation. The Age Of Miracles doesn't have this added level. The world is ending and there is nothing anyone can do. The focus is only on survival and immediate gratification with a particular focus on telling us about the workarounds and the nuclear bunkers filled with tinned food.

The characterisation in The Age Of Miracles is rather thin.
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