Sunday, February 17, 2013
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
What an original (to me) concept. The earth's rotation slows down. Daylight lasts a few minutes longer, as well as night. The day is no longer 24 hours long. And every 'day' gets longer and longer.
The length of the day isn't consistent and initially, mankind tries to adjust to daylight vs. night-time but it becomes harder to live a normal life with these long days and nights. The government mandates that the 24 hour clock will be followed to bring some sort of normalcy to every day life. So sometimes, 9AM would be dark, the start of school for Julia, the 11 year old protagonist of this dystopian novel.
I enjoyed this book although I wouldn't say I loved it as much as the critics touted it. This book has made nearly every 'best of 2012' list I've kept up with. I didn't know what it was about (my usual MO with my book list) so it's not like I knew the hype to compare.
While other reviewers seemed to diss the scientific facts, or lack thereof, about the earth's rotation slowing, my beef was the endless minutia of details that I find needless. But overall, the science appeased me and I found it believable (but I'm easy to cater to and I'm not a scientist, so what do I know?): gravity sickness striking most humans, birds dying in the thousands and thousands due to navigational/gravitational issues, whales and dolphins beaching themselves in the hundreds and eventually, the magnetic field compromised and no longer blocks radiation from reaching the earth. Sitting out in the sun for any length of time causes horrific sunburns and blisters.
Reading this scared the crap out of me. I would walk around everyday and think: OMG, I can't stay out of the mindset of the book. I felt moments of feeling like I was living in this world I have yet something else to worry about.
The novel explores this new world through the eyes of an 11 year old: what she sees, hears, how she deals with her own normal transition into puberty, awkwardness, and adapting to life in a world that is dying.
A great, original novel...