The Age of Miracles: Book Review

A disturbing tale, which brings to my mind Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’.

Birds clunk against windows in nightmarish scenarios; only, in Karen Thompson Walker’s story, the birds are dying – not multiplying!

I decide it’s likely not a good idea to share my thoughts on the book with my sprog; he’s obsessed with birds, and I suspect he knows more about them than the most studious of ornithologists.

A blue jay falls out of the sky, to meet it’s end on the wooden deck of a family’s garden. Caged birds, finches, become sleep-deprived and suffer slow deaths – never having known freedom. A dying sparrow is thrown over the lip of a canyon. A lone seagull brings a rare moment of joy to young nature lovers.

I finish the novel in a thoughtful mood, recalling yesterday’s news on Radio Suffolk, which featured householders, complaining about the seagulls spilling out the contents of their black bin liners. The author’s message, to me, is clear. Appreciate the natural world in all of its manifestations – make the most of all of life’s little irritations.

Listen to the cry of the seagull. Allow the sound to invoke the good times of our childhoods: the feel of the sand between toes, sharp-edged stones digging into the soles of bare feet, waves biting us with icy-coldness as we fill up our buckets with the sea.

Enjoy life. It’s short.

Fix the summerhouse, top up the bird-feeder, grab a deckchair, sit quietly – and observe.

Copyright owned by Jay Cool, June 2019

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