After finishing The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacqueline Mitchard in the Louisville airport last weekend, I still had two plane rides to fill before I made it home. That’s where Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles came in. I recently added the new novel to my TBR list, but I made the executive decision to let it jump the queue.
As per the book’s website, here’s the summary:
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.
Cool concept, right?
While I don’t normally care for books with science fiction type elements, this one caught my eye because it is mostly the story of an 11-year-old girl. The 11-year-old girl just happens to live in a world that’s going haywire.
And it turns out the book isn’t that science fiction-y. Walker got the idea from current events. In an interview with Vogue, she says:
Literally the most surprising thing was when I read about the 2004 earthquake [that caused the tsunami in Indonesia], and came across this fact: that one of the aftereffects was that it shortened our days by a few microseconds. There was something so unsettling and stunning about that, so unexpected and eerie.
I believe I read that the same thing happened with the Japanese earthquake. Granted both of these events only changed the length of our days by a few microseconds, but still… It is really interesting to see how this concept can be spun out into something much larger. Hopefully the book will live up to the concept. So far so good!