Ignore the people who will breathlessly tell you this is just another apocalyptic novel. If you approach this as another apocalyptic novel, you’ll be disappointed. If you want a good apocalyptic novel go and read the Last Policeman, I reviewed it yesterday.
Good apocalyptic novels will explore why something is happening and they might fudge the science and make it implausible/plausible enough for you to accept it. Apocalypse allows us to reflect on current concerns. Unfortunately The Age of Miracles isn’t a great apocalyptic book. It’s just an ok coming of age novel. Just an ok apocalyptic novel. The apocalyptic bits feel a bit bolted onto the coming of age bits and the coming of age bits feel surplus to the apocalyptic bits.
I bet the pitch meeting for this novel was electrifying: Get this, the earth’s rotation is slowing, longer days and nights. Panic buying. The atmosphere gets weird, birds and whales die. Picture this: boy meets girl as the earth is slowly dying.
Here, have a huge advance and we’ll hype it when it comes out. Splash! New York Times! Splash! Amazon best seller! Splash! Splash! (Shhh, just don’t mention it’s an unsatisfying read, if we don’t talk about it people will still buy it. It’ll be like Fifty Shades of Grey all over again. Let’s laugh as we carry our money bags to the bank! Ha!)
I’m pleased I took time to read The Age of Miracles but I’m disappointed it didn’t blow me away. I wanted more. I’m sure it’ll make a great film with Michael Cera and Ellen Page in; not the Juno pairing when they were fresh and the pairing seemed remarkable and utterly charming, it’d be the slightly lacklustre pairing they’d make now where we’ve realised that Michael Cera just plays Michael Cera over and over again and he has that’s slightly wounded puppy look about him.
I can’t leave 2012 without saying what a crappy set of books the 50 Shades of Grey series are. Most people I’ve spoken to about the books will admit they’ve read them probably because everyone else read them and that the books are not the greatest read and by book three they were bored. Let’s get together and admit that the publishing industry got us drunk and we bought some stuff on our credit card we’re not proud of. Sure, it’s embarrassing but we’ll get over it, right? Also, can the publishing industry get past calling things the “next big thing since 50 shades of grey”? Please please?