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The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
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's review
Aug 08, 2012

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bookshelves: fiction
Read in August, 2012

Probably the most amiable book you’ll ever read on the potential end of the world. A little unnerving too, especially if you began the book on a hot, intensely sunny day like I did, making it feel like the sun really is sticking around a bit too long and that the world is out of kilter.

A strong start with the panic and the hoarding and the confusion about how to organize days when the days start to drift towards 30 hours and more. But eventually a feeling of same old, same old sinks in and there’s little to propel the plot forward. There are no real villains and nothing to wait to be resolved beyond the fate of life on earth. You’d think the fate of humankind would be a significant dramatic driver but it’s really a minor plot point in this tale. The perils of navigating 6th grade social politics take center stage which, yes, seems ridiculous when faced with worldwide catastrophe, especially since 11 year-old Julia is only an innocent bystander, not a true heroine, and is not transformed in any way beyond getting a kind-of-boyfriend. I kept waiting for the now adult, narrating Julia to reveal deeper changes in what remains of society or even her own life as a result of a radically altered world but the book ends with a whimper. A quick, easy-to-read piece of summer fluff with a sci-fi twist but hardly worth a seven figure advance. The book had promise but ended up lacking real insight or bite.

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