After I read a couple of reviews of Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles, I kicked myself for not grabbing a copy during BEA. Or maybe I saw that my roommate Rachee had picked up a galley of the book. Luckily the wait for a digital copy from my library wasn’t very long.
In the near future, the Earth’s rotation mysteriously slows. As each day passes, the days become longer than our usual twenty-four hours. At first everyone panics, soon the slowing becomes old news. Julia, who is in middle school when the slowing begins, observes how her family, friends, and neighbor fall apart or adapt to the longer days and nights.
At first glance the novel looks like a dystopian science fiction story, but how humanity deals with change. Yes, there’s talk about climate change, hoarding food, and crop failure. All of that is just background for the main focus: the people.
The novel is well written and Walker gives insight on how humans deal with change. The majority of the world continues to live on the 24-hour clock, instead of relying on the unreliable sunrise and sunset. For them, the sun would shine bright at midnight or the sun rise at lunchtime, depending on when the clock times fell. The real-timers were the opposite, and their waking hours were dictated by the sunrise and nightfall. Which group are the realists and which are the dreamers? It’s not as clear cut as it seems.
How would you react if you had more hours in the day?
I couldn’t help but compare The Age of Miracles to Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. In Spin, a similar occurrence changes the planet, but the story is also about the people. The pace in Spin is a bit faster and focuses around more than one character.
I read The Age of Miracles in less than twenty-four hours. I highly recommend it.
I borrowed a copy of the book from my library. Affiliate links are included in this post.