The Age of Miracles: Book summary and reviews of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles

A Novel

By Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jun 2012,
    288 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.

"It still amazes me how little we really knew... Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It's possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much."

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life - the fissures in her parents' marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

Reading Guide

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Riveting, heartbreaking, profoundly moving." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] gripping debut… Thompson's Julia is the perfect narrator… While the apocalypse looms large - has in fact already arrived - the narrative remains fiercely grounded in the surreal and horrifying day-to-day and the personal decisions that persist even though no one knows what to do. A triumph of vision, language, and terrifying momentum, the story also feels eerily plausible, as if the problems we've been worrying about all along pale in comparison to what might actually bring our end." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. ...Don't get caught without it." - Library Journal

"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 story-telling." - Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep

"Is the end near? In Karen Thompson Walker's beautiful and frightening debut, sunsets are becoming rarities, "real-timers" live in daylight colonies while mainstream America continues to operate on the moribund system of "Clock Time," and environmentalists rail against global dependence on crops that guzzle light. Against this apocalyptic backdrop, Walker sets the coming-of-age story of brave, bewildered Julia, who wonders at the 'malleable rhythms' of the increasingly erratic adults around her. Like master fabulists Steven Millhauser and Kevin Brockmeier, Karen Thompson Walker takes a fantastic premise and makes it feel thrillingly real. In precise, poetic language, she floods the California suburbs with shadows and a doomsday glow, and in this altered light shows us amazing things about how one family responds to a stunningly imagined global crisis." - Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"This is what imagination is. In The Age of Miracles, the earth's rotation slows, gravity alters, days are stretched out to fifty hours of sunlight. In the midst of this, a young girl falls in loves, sees things she shouldn't and suffers heartbreak of the most ordinary kind. Karen Thompson Walker has managed to combine fiction of the dystopian future with an incisive and powerful portrait of our personal present." - Amy Bloom, author of Away

The information about The Age of Miracles shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Louise J
The Age of Miracles
The story is narrated by eleven-year-old, Julia so really more of the story is about coming-of-age but also part sci-fi and part young adult fiction. However, as a full grown adult I did thoroughly enjoy the book. It is beautifully written and I will be recommending it to my friends.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Mona B. (Phoenix, Arizona)
The Age of Miracles
The setting is in a small California town and is narrated by an 11 year old girl whose world is drastically changed as day by day the earths' rotation around the sun is shortened. Never knowing what to expect, she tries to maintain life as she's known it---part of a family consisting of mother, father and grandfather, in school where she struggles with friendships and the always difficult coming-of-age problems of self esteem, body image, and fashion all while trying desperately to attract the attention of one particular boy. Meanwhile, society is disintegrating ---there are battles between those trying to live by the 24 hr. "clock time" and those living on "physical time" corresponding with the ever lengthening hours of daylight and darkness. All the simple activities of daily life are altered, the food supply is at risk leading to hoarding and growing vegetables and fruits under artificial lights, utilities are strained, severe climate changes occur, and eventually solar radiation takes the lives of the people who venture out in the sunlight. This book is very thought-provoking, offering no solutions, but leaving one with a deeper appreciation of life as we know it today.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Gail L. (Maitland, FL)
Where is the Miracle?
This was a very difficult book to get through for me. It was well-written; however, the tone was dark and I kept waiting for something more to happen but it just got bleaker and bleaker as I read.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by April D. (Monroe, NC)
Age of Miracles is Breathtaking
I rarely find debut novels truly great, but The Age of Miracles surprised me. The Age of Miracles is Julia's recollection of the day everything changed. It was disturbing and the voice of the young protagonist, Julia, was haunting. I highly recommend this book for adults and young adults alike.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Carole V. (West Linn, Oregon)
Thoughtful book
This book will stick with you; I loved it, and it's a book that I won't soon forget. Julia is a normal 6th grader, but nothing in the world is normal. Not only does she have the daily life issues - first love, friend that dumps her - but the Earths rotation is slowing down and days are growing longer every minute. The world's crisis is told from her point of view; this is not a scientific book that explains what and why in a scientific manner. Rather, it shows the catastrophic 'slowing' from a personal level from real people; a young girl and her parents. Get this book; you will not be sorry.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Angela J. (Highlands Ranch, CO)
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
A great read! It's a haunting story of a girl's coming of age during a time when the earth's rotation is literally slowing down. She has to cope with a lot changes - her adolescence, and a rapidly changing world.

...22 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Karen Thompson Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program and a recipient of the 2011 Sirenland Fellowship as well as a Bomb magazine fiction prize. A former editor at Simon & Schuster, she wrote The Age of Miracles in the mornings before work. Born and raised in San Diego, she now lives in Brooklyn with her husband. The Age of Miracles is her first book.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  88Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.