Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Pages: 333
Published: 2014
Challenges: Just for Fun, I Love Libraries, Readers to the Rescue, Snagged @ the Library
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Public Library

Description: One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleventells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it. (taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After seeing this book on a number of lists on a number bookish blogs/sites at the end of 2014, I knew that I had to read this book.  So I took the plunge and requested a copy from the library. And I wasn't disappointed and really got enraptured by the book and felt that by the end of the book that I didn't want to leave the world that Mandel created.

I felt as though Mandel really enveloped me into a post-apocalyptic world that looked strangely like mine.  The language in the book was excellent and allowed me to really experience what that world would be like (hopefully I never experience it).

Bottom line:  I really enjoyed the book, even in a genre that I don't generally enjoy reading from, as I have tried to avoid reading dystopic fiction as much as possible.  In reality, the book is much more literary than genre fiction, as Mandel really uses language to convey what is going on rather than focusing too much on events.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2015: 3,273

If you have read this book, what did you think of the book?


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