I bought this book on a whim having heard so many great reviews.
The reviews were so enthusiastic that I rather expected to be swept off my feet by a delightful gem of a book. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, this book is good, just not that good.
It recounts the year in the life of a young teenage girl Julia, a coming of age story complicated by the fact that for some unexplained reason the Earth is slowing down causing the days to become longer and longer.
We gain a good impression of what is happening, how the changes affect Julia's neighbourhood and her family, the split between those who observe clock time and those who observe natural time.
What is lacking is a sense of peril or fear. As the situation degenerates and the Earth begins to die people just seem to be stunned and a little distant. No one panics, no one is overcome with hysteria. Even when people fall sick they seem to accept it with an equanimical fatality.
The colonies established by those observing natural time appear and then fade away without protest and almost without remark while the vandalism against the natural time observers who stay in the cities seems a half-hearted token rather than real discrimination or antipathy.
On a more personal level although Julia seems fond of her parents and them of her there was little more than polite interaction between them. As they experience probably the most distressing and confusing time of their lives they seem to have little to offer one another in the way of support or comfort.
Julia becomes more and more socially isolated as the school year progresses which lends a melancholy air to the narrative but also means that we lose our connection with her schoolmates and their point of view.
There is a short reprieve during her relationship with Seth but when he disappears from her life she seems to accept the situation with a depressing calm.
This is a provocative premise, competently recounted but like so much modern literary fiction it insists on being emotionally aloof, creating a barrier between the reader and any deeper feelings.
This book should have disturbed my sleep with feelings of dread and left me weeping at the fate of the Earth but instead I would remark that it was an interesting read.