The Age of Miracles
by Karen Thompson Walker 810 WAL
Like The Time Traveller’s Wife (810 NIF) or Oryx And Crake (810 ATT), this is a novel based on what would normally be taken as a Science Fiction theme (end of the world) but the emphasis is on the ordinary lives of the characters, despite the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Julia is eleven. She’s got a Mormon best friend, a skateboard-riding crush, a catty girlfriend, piano lessons, and a birthday coming up. But the Earth is slowing in its rotation. Gradually. The days and nights get longer. And longer. Over a few months daylight gets past 60 hours before the equally long night sets in. Birds fall from the sky, people get sick. Is her Dad sneaking off to see the piano teacher? No-one knows why. Communities get disheveled. Real-timers establish towns in the desert, while Clock-timers buy blackout for the windows and artificial lights for the garden. The longer the days get, the more the heat builds up. The longer the nights get, the colder they stay. All this affects Julia but her main concerns are whether Seth knows she’s alive, what the hell Dad is doing, and whether her mother will die from the Slowing Syndrome. This is the most imaginative and poignant novel I’ve read in quite a while. I was really quite surprised that I would feel this way, but, like The Slowing itself, this story takes its time, but capture you it does.