Review: Station Eleven by Emily ST. John Mandel

Posted September 10, 2014 by Charlotte in Reviews / 0 Comments

Station Eleven by Emily ST. John Mandel

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Station Eleven by Emily ST. John MandelStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Published by Picador on September 10, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction
Pages: 333
Format: E-Arc
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon

The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb.
News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
Civilization has crumbled.
A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe.
But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
Moving backwards and forwards in time, from the glittering years just before the collapse to the strange and altered world that exists twenty years after, Station Eleven charts the unexpected twists of fate that connect six people: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan - warned about the flu just in time; Arthur's first wife Miranda; Arthur's oldest friend Clark; Kirsten, a young actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed 'prophet'.
Thrilling, unique and deeply moving, this is a beautiful novel that asks questions about art and fame and about the relationships that sustain us through anything - even the end of the world.

I was so excited when I got Station Eleven that I was a little anxious that it would not live up to expectation. Luckily for me it did!

There is no fluidity in the narration of time. Instead the plot moves effortlessly between times before and after the world changed. Each narrator has a different voice, a different part of the tale to tell. Linked by the smallest of threads each protagonist has a different story to tell, a different outcome, the end of the earth affecting them differently. Are the characters linked by coincidence or is there a reason? And what exactly is Station Eleven other than a beacon of hope?

The characters are complex, yet believable. Characters, such as Kirsten, you cannot help but root for, you go on the journey alongside her, hope when she hopes and despair when she despairs. There are also some mysterious baddies, who are there to dislike, naturally. Yet their cruel and cunning nature fit perfectly as they take advantage of people’s fear in this new world.

This story is mainly at about survivorship and the harshness of the world created by a dramatic change. However,   there is a beauty in the story, a sense of hope that can be seen especially towards the end of book as the human race attempt to move on and progress. The idea that “survival is insufficient” (taken from Star Trek) is the main crux of this beautiful story. It is not about finding food and shelter. It is about seeing the lost beauty in the world. The lack of technology, the fact that planes can no longer fly. The use of the Travelling Symphony shows that there is still a need for culture, for art, else what is life?

Station Eleven is based twenty years after disaster, it is not about survivorship anymore but about how to live and what makes life. It is about moving forward and progressing

Filled with tension, action and a philosophy of life  ST. John Mandel creates a mesmerizing book that will leave you satisfied and begging for more. A brilliant, beautiful read that is utterly unforgettable.

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