In Karen Thompson Walker’s much-talked-about debut, The Age of Miracles, civilization is rocked by the news of a slowing in the earth’s rotation—”the slowing,” as it’s referred to in the novel—that extends the length of day beyond twenty-four hours, wreaking havoc on the environment, commerce, and day-to-day human interaction. Suitably, it’s the latter that our narrator Julia, a twelve-year-old girl from Southern California, focuses on: the disintegration of her family, losing friends, and finding a boyfriend.
One need not squint to see why Random House handed Walker, a graduate of the Columbia University MFA program, a million dollars for her debut. The formula is HOT! HOT! HOT! right now: a dystopian tale framed around a twelve-year-old girl’s coming of age story. And going by the moments that focus exclusively on Julia’s development and middle-school issues, it’s clear that Walker’s a talented writer with a skill for crafting sharp, witty dialogue and insightful conflict. Take the titular scene, for instance. Continue reading