Monday, September 29, 2014

(86)Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Georgian Flu has swept North America and the world as we know it is gone.  Station Eleven starts with the great American actor Arthur Leander collapsing on a Toronto stage during a production of King Lear.  Two people there that night are forever bound by his death, his young co-star, Kirsten and the man from the audience, Jeevan, who tried to save him.  Within a matter of days the world starts slowly shutting down.  People are dying by the thousands and those not dying are busy trying to flee the city for places deemed safer in their minds.  All over the country people who aren't dying are trying to find ways to survive. All over the country small communities are popping up in the strangest places.  They hole up in airports, hotels, anyplace they can sustain life and keep the pandemic out.  Over the next twenty years Kirsten, Jeevan, and thousands of other survivors create new a new world where flights are a thing of the past and young children only hear stories of electricity.  With things like traveling symphonies, printed newspapers, and makeshift schools, some of the survivors try to recreate the society they lost because of the pandemic.  With every known society comes a criminal element.  Will the good triumph over evil or will society be brought to it's knees once again?

I love a good post-apocalyptic novel and Emily St. John Mandel has done great things with Station Eleven. The novel moves around to different people, places and time in the aftermath of the pandemic.  The one thing all of the characters have in common is Arthur Leander.  Kirsten was  his young co-star and she treasure the comic books he gave her before he died, Station Eleven.  Jeevan first connected with Arthur as a member of the paparazzi and was the nameless man from the audience who tried to save his life that night. Clark was Arthur's best friend and was stranded in the airport on his way to Arthur's funeral.  All of their different stories would have been interesting on their own, but knowing that they were all connected because of Arthur just reinforced the belief that even at the end of the world, it is a small world. Station Eleven is so well written that I found myself taking my time to prolong the story.  I haven't done that in a very long time. I think that with Ebola being a recent headline added to the intensity of Station Eleven and that very real fear of "what if."

Bottom line, Emily St. John Mandel weaves a masterful tale of a world nearly destroyed by disease.  Station Eleven is a tale that will sweep you away into a world that has been gutted and is slowly being put back together again. Such a good read, I would love to hear what you think!

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Suzanne said...

Buying this on your reommendation, but it looks like it is right up my alley. :)

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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