Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


“When you’re in danger, you call the police. Hot water pours from faucets. Lift a receiver or press a button on a telephone, and you can speak to anyone. All the information in the world is on the Internet, and the Internet is all around you, drifting through the air like pollen on a summer breeze. There is money, slips of paper that can be traded for anything: houses, boats, perfect teeth.”

Imagine not ever knowing any of these things; never actually witnessing these basic experiences that are taken for granted. This book tells the story of what it’s like to not know anything about this way of life.

Here is my review.

About the book

This book is written by Emily St. John Mandel and was written in 2014. Mandel has several other books; Last Night in Montreal, The Singer’s Gun and The Lola Quartet.

A short read with only 333 pages and short chapters.

Synopsis

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains – this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

My Review

I went into this book with anticipation, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I found out about it while watching YouTube videos and decided to check it out. I have a hankering for dystopian themed fiction (which I attribute to TV shows like The Handmaids Tale and The Walking Dead) and this book did not disappoint. Going through a timeline of before and after this flu pandemic wiped out the planet, Mandel keeps you engaged. Although I like the dystopian apocalyptic theme, it would get a little boring to constantly read about a troupe of entertainers roughing it. That is not what I got here.

The first chapter was hard-hitting and then I felt that the second chapter was going to lose me. I stuck with it and I am so glad that I did because it picked right back up. Some of the chapters are short, but they leave no stone unturned. In this little 300 page book, the author is sure to address everything. If someone was talked about, you learned about what happened to them; which is something I really hate in books and movies. I feel that there was really no main character because it was written from various points of view and I was fine with that. Mainly because it was executed so well.

The descriptions were impeccable and breathtaking. I love a book that can make me feel this sense of doom for the people in the story. I man people waited in their homes for months waiting for help. Some even died while they waited. The pandemic was fast. people were dying within a day of getting it. Not to mention that this pandemic started in the middle of a snow storm. Could you even imagine? It was just so intense.

Now I will say, Mandel did not address why some people didn’t get the pandemic. Unless I missed it. I feel that this is an important aspect that was left out. There was a prophet that felt that they were “chosen”, and I don’t want to give too much away, so I leave that to the readers.

I gave this book a 5/5 star rating! I absolutely loved it and highly recommend.

If you’ve read it, what did you think?

Happy Reading

 

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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