Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Title: The Age of Miracles
Narrator: Emily Janice Card
Publication Info: Random House Audio (2012)
This novel offers a speculative account of the crisis that occurs when the rotation of the Earth slows, lengthening the periods of daylight and nighttime. This incident is referred to by the characters in the book as The Slowing, and it has the effect of causing birds to die off, an increase of solar radiation, a complete inability to grow traditional crops, and even causing some people to contract an illness.
While the premise is fantastical, the way the fictional American society responds to the crisis is realistic. The US government determines that the country will continue to follow the 24-hour clock regardless of what time the sun is shining or not. Some people rebel against this, insisting on living on “real time,” even going so far as forming their own separatist communities.
The narrator/protagonist of the novel is a junior high school girl from suburban San Diego named Julia. From her perspective we see the dissolution of the social order among her family, friends, and school. Any attempts to deal with the normal struggles of adolescence are overshadowed by the crisis that prevents any sense of predictability in the world. Julia narrates from an uncertain future while the narrative focuses on the first few months of the slowing as Julia faces changing friendships and an emerging relationship with a long-time crush.
This novel is dark and emotional and all too real to be reading at this time.
- The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta