Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publication Date: 9/9/14
How I Found It: It's a recent best seller
Date Completed: 3/17/15
Summary: Station Eleven begins with the end of the world. A lauded actor ends his career on a stage in Toronto when he suffers a heart attack in the middle of King Lear. The next day, a deadly virus spreads out of control worldwide. Mandel jumps across decades as she pieces together the story of the actor's life, his death, the flu, and the wanderings of a small troup of actors and musicians spreading art across the changed landscape.
What I Thought: I loved this book. Mandel weaves all these different stories together so beautifully. Each one holds merit and interest, unlike many books of this type which tend to have at least one storyline you just have to get push through to reach the others again.
There is a reason this book has quietly conquered The New York Times bestseller list. It is a simple, beautiful story of humanity and art and survival. I love that Mandel spent the bulk of the book exploring a world twenty years after the apocalyptic plague which wiped out 99% of humanity. So much of this dystopian tidal wave of late either focuses on the immediate consequences or what is happening generations, even centuries later. Mandel's characters remember the time before, but just barely. They are fully immersed in the new world and yet the remnants and memories of the old lay all around them.
While Station Eleven does have some action and adventure, the book is far more driven by character development than most books in this genre. It really hit my sweet spot. How could I not love a book that placed complex characters in a broken world and made them artists? It's like this book was written for me.
Quote I Loved: "No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars."
Will I Re-Read: Yeah. I definitely will at some point.
A Reduced Review: The end of the world has never been so magical and musical.