Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Age of Miracles

I am reading a fantastic book called The Age of Miracles, a debut novel by Karen Thompson Walker.
(Warning:  Spoiler alert)

Participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and, earlier this year, the Author Blog Challenge, has made me more aware and more appreciative, of good writing.  I now have an idea of just how difficult it is.

When I read certain passages in a book I will think "Ah ha! The author had one of those moments when he/she knew the right thing to say or put in."  This book has a lot of those moments.

This is not a young adult novel, although the narrator starts the story when she is 11 years old.  The prose is so breathtaking, I can hardly believe it is a debut novel. There are several gems in the parts I have read so far, including these:

"This was middle school, the age of miracles, the time when kids shot up three inches over the summer, when breasts bloomed from nothing, when voices dipped and dove. Our first flaws were emerging, but they were being corrected. Blurry vision could be fixed invisibly with the magic of the contact lens. Crooked teeth were pulled straight with braces. Spotty skin could be chemically cleared. Some girls were turning beautiful. A few boys were growing tall.” 

And this....

“How much sweeter life would be if it all happened in reverse, if, after decades of disappointments, you finally arrived at an age when you had conceded nothing, when everything was possible.”

And finally this, one of my favorites:

" Who knows how fast a second-guess can travel? Who has ever measured the exact speed of regret?”

The exact speed of a second guess, or regret, is something no science can measure, and science has no explanation, or cure, for what happens in this book.  Yet, the author has taken steps to make sure the consequences of what happened is scientifically plausible.

My NaNoWriMo fictional memoir, I can assure you, will not have prose like this book has. Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I will have my weekly check in tomorrow, as Thursday is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

I don't often do book reviews.  I really don't mean this as one - if you want to know more about this book (besides the trailer), this blog has more details.

I know this book has received a lot of mixed reviews, and I don't know if I would have picked it up if it was not an (one of the genres I enjoy) end of the world story of sorts.  The mature narrator tells the story, from her memories. 

The ordinary in the middle of the extraordinary.  What would any of us do if it was the end of the world?

You owe it to yourself to read this gem.

1 comment:

  1. GREAT post. That writer is a prose poet! Her words do seem to drip like honey off the tongue. A most excellent find. Reading great writing will help you improve. WRITE ON!


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