04 March 2013

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

A book review

My love: ♥♥♥○○ 

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the novel yet, do not read this review. Don’t let my opinion spoil you some good writing. As for plot… meh.

First thing, the good. Ever since I read The lovely bones by Alice Sebold, I’ve been searching for a book that takes me into this wonderful world of words (W.W.W.). In this world words play in your head like music in May. They make you feel and shed a tear or two. The way language is used is touching, inspiring, sad and happy at the same time. Forth came The Age of Miracles. And I have to say, Karen has mastered words. The book is so beautifully written that, like another reviewer said,”makes you want to write down a quote every few pages.”

My favorite quote is simply this one:

I still remember the flyers that appeared in post offices and grocery stores; names and photos of people soon hung from the same signposts that had previously carried the new of lost pets. If you see this woman, please tell her Daniel is looking for her. If you’re out there, J. T., here’s my number. It was the newest relationships that were the least likely to survive—millions of new connections were cut off in midbloom. Think of all those potential loved ones lost once again on a planet of strangers.

So what is it about? The story is about a girl named Julia who is coming to age in an ever-slowing world. The setting in my view is a sort of mirror of Julia’s own world. How her first love also grew slowly, how everything in her life changed. She learned how things are more complicated than an “I love you” or an “I hate you”. The world slows down more each day, days are longer and warmer, nights are also longer and colder. So does her family and her life. I loved how her relationship with Seth came to be, casual and innocent. I hated how all the situations around her came to nothing. Including the end of the world. Slowly, prolonging, into nothing. Science was the biggest set back. But I guess if you actually set this drama in a realistic slowing earth setting, the characters would be dead in day one. I guess. If you don’t want the science to keep you from reading do not watch Aftermath by National Geographic over the slowing of the Earth. It will have you going “What the frack” as often as “Ah, that’s a nice line”. By her 72 hours spin, they should be all dead. Ten years later, they are not.

So I waited for that asteroid to come when they started to talk about the weakening of the magnetic field. And I waited. And Seth left. And I waited. And her family was back to “normal”. And I waited. And suddenly it was as if she decided to take a last breath and tell us about her last ten years in the last ten pages. And I waited… and nothing. And that was that. A slow novel about slowing growing up in an ever slowing world and then… bam! Fast forward and you go like “What? Wait! I’m still here!” The end.

So to conclude, I do recommend the novel to those who appreciate beautiful words. To those who appreciate action and drama and tension and all that jazz, not so much. I’m in between. I’m glad I read it. There were beautiful lines in it. I mean, think of my favorite quote. Not long ago we were distant, relying on letters and time to connect to each other. Wars came and the distance stretched. Now, we sit her and instantly talk to each other. I can call my family on the other side of the globe whereas in the past I would have become a daughter in ink. All the potential loves, including mine, would have never come to be. What would happen if such a time come again? I would be heartbroken for all the hearts that would break.





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