What were to happen to daily life if the rotation of the earth began to slow? What effect would this have on the days and nights? Could birds continue flying? Karen Thompson Walker explores all of these and more in her beautifully written debut The Age of Miracles.
The center of this novel however isn’t the scientific questions. Walker explores the effects of the “slowing” as they call it on Julia, a twelve year old only child living in California. Ordinary life is hard enough on her as the shy quiet girl in her grade. Her best friend Hanna moves away to Nevada once the slowing begins, leaving her alone amongst the pre-teen turmoil. Her mother grows increasingly scared and stockpiles supplies while her father remains remote. Julia learns early on in her observation that not everyone reacts the same way.
In less skilled hands, the concept could have overwhelmed the novel, but Walker’s focus on Julia keeps the book centered. The entire novel crackles with how real this could be.