‘The Age of Miracles’ Review
By Karen Thompson Walker
This book I chose because the synopsis on the back really caught my attention. It intrigued and interested me as I had not read anything similar before. The concept of time slowing yet still living on was definitely new to me and very interesting. I was excited to see how the story would develop and see how the author went to town on the endless potential it held.
Writing from the perspective of 11-yr old Julia, gave the story a perspective unlike most novels I've read. I believe this enhanced the story in some ways. It allowed the writer to explore different avenues and reactions not typical in such circumstances. Children are not affected in ways which adults can often be and react only in accordance. Julia certainly did not break this trend. She still had her crush, she still loved and cared about her parents, even her piano teacher, despite the possible apocalypse on earth.
I do think though that this held the story back in places. The friendship between Julia and Seth was expected. Their tragedy, predictable. The characters I found most enjoyable were Julia’s grandfather Gene, and Sylvia. I loved Gene's loyalty love and hope for Julia. He was wearing his best as he placed the last of all her favorite things in the bunker before he slipped form the ladder. Sylvia also showed strength of character. She persisted to remain free-spirited was unperturbed by the other residents. This was dashed when she didn't realise her bird was dead though!
The book started off well, I liked how it got straight into it. I enjoyed the turn of events that followed as the slowing persisted. Some of the things KTW created were well thought of and well delivered. I especially liked the effects of the shift in the magnetic field, and the subsequent radiation.
I could imagine the scientists pouring over endless books, glasses on, bad hair, empty coffee cups strewn all over. Trying to figure out something that has never happened or been recorded in the history of man. I was however disappointed come the end of the book when there were still no answers. I believe this could have worked if there were abit more substance to the book. The last chapter, years later, where the situation still was still as unclear as the stolen shopping trolley at the bottom of Pudsey Park pond. Despite such a story-line that allowed for endless writing freedom and creativity, the ending went back to long-lost relationships re-united on Jeremy Kyle, blah blah blah!
This book wasn't all disappointment though. There were several parts I enjoyed reading.
There were only a few quotes I feel I would like to share with you though:
“The only thing you have to do in this life is die...everything else is a choice.” I heard this for the first time form my ex. Full of phrases and sayings.
“We dipped our fingers in the wet cement, and we wrote the truest, simplest things we knew - our names, the date, and these words: We were here.”
Overall, I was not particularly satisfied with this book having finished it. I thought the events occurring were imaginative and interesting and it was a brilliant concept to explore. BUT… and there’s always a but, I do not think the story was as creative as it could be and the concepts weren't fully explored. I also felt the relationships within the book weren't explored to their full potential. I was left disappointed by several aspects of the book and I definitely felt unsatisfied by the end. This was a simple read with a story that could have been excellent, however it delivered distinct lack of imagination and eccentric creativity.