The Age of Miracles: A Conversation about a Book

July 3, 2012By

A one-sided conversation about The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, which took place in the car on the way home from the grocery store the afternoon I finished reading it.

Me: Remember that book I was telling you about, the one about the earth slowing down?

Him: Slowing down?

Me: I mean, slowing down as in its rotation. In the book, the earth just starts spinning slower, so the days are no longer 24 hours long. They just keep getting longer and longer. It’s wild, because who would ever think of *that* as a natural disaster? The earth spins, it spins once every twenty-four hours, it always has, it always will, except in this book, it doesn’t.

Him: Huh. Light’s green.

Me: Thanks. Meanwhile, the book is told by a girl who lived through this when she was 12. It’s perfect, because not only is she worried about the slowing, she’s also worried about being in middle school. You know, bullies, and boys, and who’s friends with who and all that. Somehow, the earth slowing down makes all of that seem more, I don’t know, important, you know?

Him: Mmm-hmmm.

Me: Anyway, the author is remembering back on everything, so she’s sometimes drop hints about major news events that she assumes the reader would know about, which is kind of cool, because I can just imagine how some things went down. Also, she talks about how the government wants to stick to a 24 hour clock, but some people want to live in “real time” and live each day from sunrise to sunset, even thought the days are, like, 40 hours long. Who can sleep for 20 hours at a time?

Him: Wow.

Me: Right? I couldn’t. But it’s more than that, she goes into detail about how the slowing affects gravity, and crops. I mean, how do you grow anything when a night lasts longer than a day used to? At one point, she even says, “It was the last time I ever ate a grape.”

Him: This book sounds really depressing.

Me: No! No, it isn’t! I mean, it’s thought-provoking and kind of somber, but I wouldn’t say depressing. It’s about putting things in perspective, and enjoying what you can, being┬áresilient┬ábut not inflexible. And it’s about growing up, I guess. Really, I just liked Julia, the girl. She was so incredibly normal in an absurd, abnormal situation.

Him: Is this why you keep checking the weather sites? To check the sunrise/sunset times?

Me: No.

(Really, yes.)


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  1. Annika says:

    Oh, wow. That sounds really good.

  2. Chris C. says:

    LOL re: checking sunset times. I read this book last week while on vacation and LOVED it. But it also made me just a wee bit paranoid about day length. Especially since vacation was in Northern Montana where there’s, like, 19 hours of light every day right now!