Karen Thompson Walker has a pre-apocalyptic vision

Karen Thompson Walker

It’s hard to resist the gravity of Brooklyn author Karen Thompson Walker’s debut novel, “The Age of Miracles.” Within the first few pages, we learn that the rate of the Earth’s rotation has suddenly begun to slow — adding, at first, minutes to each day.

Unlike most apocalypse stories, which start with a bang, Walker’s novel immerses us in a world that is slowly grinding to a halt. “It felt more interesting to tell a story where the rate of the destruction was slower, because that allowed for a wider range of reactions and a more nuanced reaction to the catastrophe,” says Walker, who enlisted an astrophysicist to review her first draft.

“It just felt a little more realistic,” she continues, “If I were reading a story like that, it would seem more convincing than something that changes the world overnight.”

“The slowing,” as it comes to be known, has as profound and damaging an effect on the human body and mind as it does on the Earth. But, as the days and nights become longer, it becomes difficult to identify which symptoms are due to disrupted circadian rhythms and which are due to stress and fear over not knowing whether the slowing of the planet will indeed mean the end of the world.

“I wanted to write a story that was partly about adapting to this changed world,” Walker says, “And partly about wanting to carry on with whatever pieces of ordinary life it’s possible to continue on with.”

All of this is observed through the eyes of 11-year-old Julia, who lives with her parents in a California suburb. While the world slows, Julia’s maturation accelerates — that is, if we define maturity as the ability to adapt when our perceived world falls apart (in Julia’s case, both literally and figuratively).

Though the premise of “The Age of Miracles” brings to mind current environmental concerns, Walker says that the novel is not meant to be a statement on climate change. Though, she says, “I did try to learn from climate change both what’s happening in terms of climate change but also the debates that surround it, how people conceive of and respond to it. I did try to learn from that as I tried to predict and figure out how my characters would respond to similarly slow-paced disaster.”

Walker’s grim hook certainly keeps the pages turning. If only we were as hooked to the real-life story.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.