Book Club: The Age of Miracles

“I guess it never is what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different—unimagined, unprepared for, unknown.” 

There were lots of people at Book Club this month, and that, coupled with the interesting subject matter of the book, led to a good discussion.

The Age of Miracles is part sci fi, part comtemporary, and part a coming of age tale about a young girl called Julia, who seemingly has quite a normal life – school, sleepovers with friends, Saturday morning football. But then she and everyone else find out one day that the rotation of the earth is slowing down. More minutes are gained each day, with days and nights becoming longer and longer. So the story of Julia, growing up and facing common adolescent problems like broken friendships and first crushes, is coupled with the changing world around her. This is what we liked about it – though depressing at times, the juxtaposition of the regular and irregular definitely made it a page turner.

We all felt quite sorry for Julia – nothing seemed to go right for her. One of our favourite characters was Sylvia, her strange, hippyish piano teacher who decides to become a Real Timer, living by the rise and fall of the sun rather than sticking to the 24 hour clock. She’s a stark contrast to Julia’s mother, a fairly irritating creature, perpetually stockpiling peanut butter.

Though there was little prospect of a happy ending to this book, it was still difficult to predict, and there were a few twists and turns along the way, particularly due to the unexpected consequences of the slowing. So, although not exactly a feel good story, this book was found to be an enjoyable, easy read, which really made us all think. Four stars.

“But doesn’t every precious era feel like fiction once it’s gone? After a while, certain vestigial sayings are all that remain. Decades after the invention of the automobile, for instance, we continue to warn each other not to ‘put the cart before the horse’. So, too, we do still have ‘day’dreams and ‘night’mares, and the early-morning clock hours are still known colloquially (if increasing mysteriously) as ‘the crack of dawn’. Similarly, even as they grew apart, my parents never stopped calling each other ‘sweetheart’.”

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