The Age of Miracles (novel)

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The Age of Miracles
The Age Of Miracles Novel.jpg
Author Karen Thompson Walker
Country United States
Publisher Random House, Simon & Schuster
Publication date
Pages 272
ISBN 0812983602

The Age of Miracles is the debut novel of American writer Karen Thompson Walker, published in June 2012 by Random House in the United States and Simon & Schuster in the United Kingdom.[1] The book chronicles the fictional phenomenon of 'slowing', in which one Earth day takes longer to complete.[2]

The novel received positive reviews and publishing deals totalling £1.12 million, and has been translated into many major languages.[3][4] The book was nominated as part of the Waterstones 11 literary award in 2012.[5]


The idea for the Slowing first came to Walker on reading that the 2004 Indonesia Tsunami had caused the earth's rotation to slow by some fractions of a second.[6] She started researching the effects of a more large-scale slowing, mostly on the net, but also had it verified by an astrophysicist. Since she was working full-time as an Editor at Simon & Schuster at the time, she took to writing the story in mornings. Although it took her four years to complete the book, Walker enjoyed writing this way, calling it a "type of meditation."[7] Walker lists Blindness by José Saramago as one of the books that inspired her to write The Age of Miracles.[8]


The Age of Miracles received mostly positive reviews from critics. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times hailed the book as a "clever mash-up of disaster epic with sensitive young-adult, coming-of-age story" despite noting its "made-for-Hollywood slickness" and some wayward plot developments.[2] In Entertainment Weekly Melissa Maerz agreed with Kakutani on the book's strengths, giving it an "A-" and praising it as "lovely, because of its simple writing and quiet moments."[9] NPR's Maureen Corrigan also enjoyed the book, writing: "The Age of Miracles is a pensive page-turner that meditates on loss and the fragility of both our planetary and personal ecosystems.".[10] The Daily Telegraph critic Claudia Yusef focused on the emotional aspect of the book, opining that the slowing was "the basis for a startlingly evocative portrayal of the beauty and horror of adolescence" and that "quibbl[ing] with the physics, seems futile."[11] Writing for The Huffington Post, Abigail Tarttelin praised the book's "light, ephemeral touch", calling it "a very enjoyable book", but felt the book was not as dramatic as the setting required.[12] Becky Toyne of The Globe and Mail felt the consequences of the slowing read "too much like a catalogue" and the narrator's refrain too repetitive, but nevertheless summed up the book as "touching and harrowing, but above all magical."[13] Jackie Stewart, in her The Washington Post review, felt the book's literary techniques to be "heavy-handed" and the descriptions "awkward", but ended with: "On the whole, "The Age of Miracles" is a dark and beautiful book that follows the trials and tribulations of one child ... and also tracks society's reaction to a bizarre natural disaster."[14] In The Guardian, Christopher Priest slammed the book for its "total lack of irony, awareness of the larger world [and] characterization done by the numbers" and further highlighted the scientific fallacies in the book.[15]


  1. ^ "The Age of Miracles". Goodreads. 
  2. ^ a b Kakutani, Michiko. "Normalcy Grinds to a Halt". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Michiko Kakutani. "Normalcy Grinds to a Halt ‘The Age of Miracles,’ Debut Novel by Karen Thompson Walker". New York Times. 
  4. ^ Benedicte Page (18 March 2011). "The Age of Miracles, the earthquake novel that has shaken the publishing world". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ Singh, Anita (20 January 2012). "Waterstones 11: the literary ones to watch". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Owens, Jill. "Karen Thompson Walker: The Interview". Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Lange, Sarah (May 22, 2013). "Karen Thompson Walker: How I Write". The Writer. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Walker, Karen (20 June 2013). "KAREN THOMPSON WALKER: MY INSPIRATION FOR THE AGE OF MIRACLES". We Love This Book. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Maerz, Melissa (July 3, 2012). "The Age of Miracles (2012)". Entertainment Weekly. 
  10. ^ Corrigan, Maureen (July 2, 2012). "'The Age of Miracles' Considers Earth's Fragility". NPR. 
  11. ^ Yusef, Claudia (21 June 2012). "The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker: review". The Daily Telegraph. 
  12. ^ Tarttelin, Abigail (February 4, 2013). "Book Review: The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker". The Huffington Post. 
  13. ^ Toyne, Becky (June 29, 2012). "Want a miracle? Try a 25-hour day". The Globe and Mail. 
  14. ^ Stewart, Jackie (July 27, 2012). "BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Age of Miracles’". The Washington Post. 
  15. ^ Priest, Christopher (July 13, 2012). "The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker – review". The Guardian. Retrieved August 14, 2013.