Hatchet Job of the Week: The Age of Miracles
Thompson Walker’s writing is flat, efficient, careful. It reveals all the hallmarks and acquired craft skills of the creative writing course: a persistent blandness, an incorruptible awareness of political correctness, but also a kind of defensive knowingness. She has been taught to keep the plot moving, to produce small surprises or reversals. But she also writes with a total lack of irony, of awareness of the larger world. Characterisation is done by numbers: as soon as the soft-eyed boy with the skateboard appears you know that not only will he get the girl, he won’t make it to the end of the novel.
This is the kind of book, with its allegedly vast payments to the author, that will suck the oxygen out of bookselling for several months. It will mostly be sold at substantial discounts in supermarkets and online. It will find a kind of success, but in almost every other way it is a sorry and pallid failure.
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