AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker (is my Girlfriend)Posted: July 3, 2012
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT: I’ve been excited about this book since I read the premise months back : the Earth’s rotation mysteriously begins to slow, days and nights eventually become 60 hours each, the end of the world comes not with a bang but with a whimper, and amidst it all an eleven year old girl becomes twelve.
Read it I did, on my iPad in fact. You guys know I like my books all paper-y and page-y, but I wanted to start reading a new book at 10PM on Friday night, and until they open up that 24 hour bookstore/candy and hair accessory shop I dream about each night, a download it was.
The book is glorious. When it started out I thought “All right it’s going to be a sci fi premise grounded in reality with MFA-good prose, I can feel that.” I expected to like it well enough. I ended up being, like, ENRAPTURED by this novel. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word enraptured on this blog before! I don’t think I’ve ever used the word enraptured LIKE IN LIFE. Go buy this book now.
I love the way the premise of the Earth’s slowed rotation weaves in and out of this painfully accurate account of a pre-adolescent coming of age. As days become 27, 30, 40 hours and more, strange things start to happen to gravity, birds, gardens, and humans, and Thompson utilizes this strange and extraordinary world she has created to ensure that this novel spills over with cinematic and memorable scenes. Accompanied by a coming of age story that is full of longing and humiliation and loose ends, the way coming of age happens in real life, this ordinary adolescent story becomes extraordinary in the face of slow apocalypse, and in fact, put side by side, we remember that adolescence is an end-times in and of itself. The Earth no longer behaving itself is an age of miracles. Being eleven is an age of miracles. You guys, I LOVE TITLES THAT MEAN MORE THAN ONE THING, I WANT TITLES LIKE THIS FOR EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF ART AND MEDIA THAT I CONSUME.
About a year ago I read THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perotta and I feel like AGE OF MIRACLES feels like a cousin of the work (maybe the slightly prettier cousin, shhh, don’t tell LEFTOVERS). I love this subgenre of end-of-the-world stories: fantastical apocalypses grounded in about as much reality as a fantastical apocalypse can be grounded in. I want more books of this ilk, does anyone have any recommendations? I will take them so hard!
WHAT KIND OF GIRLFRIEND IS SHE: Pretty because she’s pretty. Melancholy because all the birds and whales are dying and plants aren’t doing too well either. But I’m melancholy about all this too. If you’re going to be melancholy, be melancholy with someone pretty.
MY DATE WITH AGE OF MIRACLES:
I don’t have pictures, I read the book on my iPad, remembers? But our date consisted of laying down because the Earth’s wonky rotation made gravity weird and we both got sick. Oh, but then we got better and went out and played around in a night that lasted thirty hours!