The Age of Miracles: A Novel

By Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher:Random House, (6/26/2012)

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.00 out of 5 (3 Clubie's ratings)

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With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.

“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”

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.
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ml's thoughts on "The Age of Miracles: A Novel"
updated on:8/20/2013


Nick's thoughts on "The Age of Miracles: A Novel"
updated on:8/2/2012

There are many different kinds of horror, and different types resonate with different people. Some are really rattled by tales of suspense, and others by gory slasher stories. I tend to be more deeply affected by quiet terrors and in some ways, "The Age of Miracles" is the most terrifying book I've read in a long time. It is very well written and spins a quiet, character-driven tale of someone coming of age as the world around her literally comes apart and society begins to unravel. As someone who spends a good amount of time worrying about the planet losing patience with us (climate change, overpopulation, etc.), this story rattled me. Karen Thompson Walker makes it all seem very real and the matter of fact way she describes the changing world make it even more scary. This is an efficient, well-crafted story that made me want to cover my eyes, but I still couldn't look away. 

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Book Junky's thoughts on "The Age of Miracles: A Novel"
updated on:7/9/2012

This book is brilliantly written, well conceived, and incredibly discussable. BUT the instant I started reading it I want it to be done. I have an overactive imagination that just makes things seem real and this was WAY too real feeling. I do not want the thoughts of this book in my head… but now they are here. It is a book that will freak you out and that I am going to try to forget every word, but I know they will leach into my thoughts at all the weirdest of times from now until the events in the book actually take place and I will probably die. Ugh! See? Horrible thoughts. If you are into end-of-time scenarios give the book a whirl - like I said, plenty to discuss. But if your imagination is like mine - SAVE YOURSELF!!! 

Unleash it

"The Age of Miracles: A Novel"
By Karen Thompson Walker

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.00 out of 5 (3 Clubie's ratings)

The Gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.

1. As readers, why do you think we’re drawn to stories about the end of the world? What special pleasures do these kinds of narratives offer? And how do you think this element works in The Age of Miracles?

2. Julia is an only child. How does this fact affect who she is and how she sees the world? How would her experience of the slowing be different if she had a sibling? How would her experience of middle school be different?

3. How much do you think the slowing alters Julia’s experience of adolescence? If the slowing had never happened, in what ways would her childhood have been different? In what ways would it have been the same?

4. Julia’s parents’ marriage becomes increasingly strained over the course of the book. Why do you think they stay together? Do you think it’s the right choice? How much do you think Julia’s mother does or does not know about Sylvia?

5. Julia’s father tells several crucial lies. Discuss these lies and consider which ones, if any, are justified and which ones are not. Is lying ever the right thing to do? If so, when?

6. How would the book change if it were narrated by Julia’s mother? What if it were narrated by Julia’s father? Or her grandfather?

7. Why do you think Julia is so drawn to Seth? Why do you think he is drawn to her?

8. Did you identify more with the clock-timers or with the real-timers? Which would you be and why?

9. The slowing affects the whole planet, but the book is set in southern California. How does the setting affect the book? How important is it that the story takes place in California?

10. How do you feel about the way the book ends? What do you think lies ahead for Julia, for her parents and for the world?

11. The slowing throws the natural world into disarray. Plants and animals die and there are changes in the weather. Did this book make you think about the threats that face our own natural world? Do you think the book has something to say about climate change?

12. If you woke up tomorrow to the news that the rotation of the earth had significantly slowed, how do you think you would respond? What is the first thing you would do?

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