Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Published by Picador
Published 10 September 2014
352 pages
Library book

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One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. 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 Travelling 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.”


THE KING STOOD in a pool of blue light, unmoored. This was act 4 of King Lear, a winter night at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. Earlier in the evening, three little girls had played a clapping game onstage as the audience entered, childhood versions of Lear’s daughters, and now they’d returned as hallucinations in the mad scene. The king stumbled and reached for them as they flitted here and there in the shadows. His name was Arthur Leander. He was fifty-one years old and there were flowers his hair.


I really enjoyed Station Eleven. I’m a huge fan of apocalyptic fiction so knew this would be right up my street. I was impressed by the fact the author offers a refreshing scenario for the end of the world and chose something other than the old zombie apocalypse which has been done to death. Station Eleven is a breath of fresh air. What I also like was how simple and quiet the book was, moving back and forth in time showing the day the flu came and what happened to civilisation in the twenty years after the world ended. A trope of apocalyptic fiction is battles between survivors or survivors and something nasty left behind at the end of the world. There are no scenes with burning cities, epic battles or riots in Station Eleven. A refreshing change. Station Eleven is about people trying to find a place in a decimated world. I found it riveting and would highly recommend it.




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