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The Best Novels of 2012

The Age of Miracles
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

The Age of Miracles

288 pages; Random House
The apocalyptic event in The Age of Miracles doesn't immediately set off a series of world-ending disasters—but Karen Thompson Walker's first novel is quietly explosive in its own way. On an ordinary Saturday morning, 11-year-old Julia and her parents awaken to learn that the Earth's rotation has begun to slow. Days and nights grow endless, birds plummet to the ground as gravity becomes stronger, the Earth's magnetic field starts to shift, solar storms light up the sky, and essential crops wither. Walker describes global shifts with a sense of utter realism, but she treats Julia's personal adolescent upheaval with equal care, delicacy, and poignancy. "The slowing triggered certain other changes too, less visible at first but deeper. It disrupted certain subtler trajectories: the tracks of friendships, for example, the paths toward and away from love."
— Stephan Lee

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