book reviews by Althea

The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker ***

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A Post-Apocalyptic Book Club Selection.
I enjoyed this book; it was a bit different than your typical apocalyptic novel. No rough men marching the wastelands here, no cannibal gangs desperate for survival.
Instead, we see the slow apocalypse through the eyes of a young girl. For the young, everything is new… so the gradual falling apart of civilization is somehow equivalent to the more mundane traumas of adolescence.
The earth’s rotation is slowing, and in many ways this is a slow-moving book. it’s also sweet and evocative. I felt like the author is probably referencing tropes of a whole genre of books that I don’t really read… mainstream literary fiction that’s kind of woman-oriented and deals with quotidian drama, perhaps? She’s taking this and meshing it with the end of the world… and overall, I felt that it worked.
I particularly liked how, faced with an inevitable disaster of unprecedented scope, society here starts focusing on completely inconsequential things (such as which hours of a lengthened day people choose to sleep)and basing hatred and bigotry on these things. So typical.
However, the book doesn’t give a wholly negative view on humanity – there are heartbreakingly touching moments, as well an effective depiction of the drive to persevere, even in the face of hopelessness.


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