What if the world stopped turning one day – would you notice? Karen Thompson Walker’s apocalyptic story presents a unique dilemma for Californians already prepared to fall off the edge of the continent into the ocean. As the rotation of the earth slows, the young heroine, Julia, observes the reactions of her parents and friends, and reveals her own initial exhilaration at the prospect of a change in the usual order of everything. Night and day no longer have meaning, but horrors are in the making – failing crops, radiation seeping into the atmosphere. Through Julia’s observations, the characters reveal their fears and anxieties; the tale forces an examination of routine and expectations, as everyone is forced to adapt – and not easily survive.
I found myself despairing, and I confess I peeked at the last few pages to find that the world really was hopelessly coming to an end. I just couldn’t bear the angst, and did not finish reading the book. But the New York Times has high praise for this debut novel – Normalcy Grinds to a Halt.
Maybe I’ll try again later – during the rainy season. Have you read the book? Is it worth trying again?