Title: The Age of Miracles
Writers : Karen Thompson Walker
Genre: Speculative Fiction
My Rating: 3 on 5
As the world moved from paper books to ebooks, I just stood by and watched the others make this transition. While I love the flexibility of carrying all the books around in a thin tablet, the beauty and tangibility of paper books was something I couldn’t let go. I decided to give ebooks a try this year, mainly to see if I like them okay or hate them. When I was browsing books on Kindle, Amazon threw this book at me as a recommendation. A quick read of the blurb was enough to buy the book. I don’t own a Kindle, so I read this on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet with Kindle app. I will reserve my comments on the ebook experience for the end.
The Age of Miracles documents the changes in the life of a 10-year old girl, Julia, and her “coming of age” (never really understood what the term meant) which may or may not have been caused by the environmental change, which is referred to as ‘slowing’, where the earth’s rotation slows down and the days become longer each day. Julia is like any other 10-year old, with her best friend Hannah, her crush Seth and her parents whose marriage looks fine superficially, which Julia realizes is not so pleasant from the inside.
The slowing of earth is used as a backdrop against which Julia’s life is chronicled, but the novel could have as well written without this science fiction part in it. We see old relationships breaking, new ones being formed, marriages being broken and rebuilt, losing loved ones, denying catastrophic situations and coming to accept them later and all this through an adolescent’s eyes. I loved certain parts of the book (Julia’s grandfather’s episodes, Seth’s episodes) whereas some turned out artificial (Hannah, Sylvia).
To me, Julia’s voice came out as distant and sometimes indifferent, which made it hard for me to relate to her character. She sometimes appears shallow and unreal whereas at certain times, she tugged at my heart. Julia’s mother was much more of a believable character to me with her constant worries and anxieties.
The novel is readable, characters are well developed, the plot is interesting, but for whatever reason, I really couldn’t connect to the book. There was nothing in it which made me pause and think or recollect something after I finished reading it. After reading all the rave reviews, looks like it’s not the book, but it’s me who is not getting the book. We just didn’t click.
My first ebook reading went surprisingly well. I thought I would miss the touch of paper, which I did, but I also liked the ability to read it at night while the others slept on. I didn’t have to disturb them by keeping the room lights on. The tab is light enough to hold while sleeping. My eyes were strained after prolonged reading, but I am hoping this issue won’t arise with non-backlit ones like Kindle E-Ink readers. I could carry the tab with me and read the book while I waited for my turn at the clinic. The ability to bookmark, take notes and keep my progress synced between PC and my tab was really great. While I don’t see and end to the paper book reading, I definitely foresee a rise in ebook reading.