Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Everyone is buzzing about Karen Thompson Walker's hot summer debut, The Age of Miracles. And the buzz is not without merit. Walker, a former editor with one of the big six, knows her stuff!

The Earth's rotation is slowing. Julia, now grown, was just eleven when it all started. As she faces first love, the end of friendships, and a growing awareness of issues concerning her parents and others around her (in other words, the normal issues a girl her age faces), Julia is also facing the results of the growing catastrophe: the world is literally dying around her. People are struck by new illness, society is caving in on itself, and resources are drying up. 

Julia's tale is almost tragically magical. Viewing the world through the memory of a child is always an interesting way to present a story and one that I find wonderful in all of its incarnations. Here though, Walker presents a wholly believable apocalyptic scenario and a story that is completely heartfelt. Julia comes to life through Walker's crisp prose, wrapping readers up in her story.

I know that each reader will take something different from the book, but I found myself tearing up at the end. In fact, I was left kind of torn to pieces by the time I finished the book. It was a truly strange and emotional experience that I enjoyed but also struggled with because while it is essentially a  quick and easy read, the issues Walker brings to light are disturbing in a lot of ways.

I think that The Age of Miracles is one of those books that will appeal to such a wide range of readers for so many reasons, not the least of which is Walker's wonderful ability to tell a tale.

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