Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic; Dystopian
A new release, another dystopian. Oh great, you’re thinking, whether it’s sarcastic or not. I was certainly thinking ‘oh great’ sarcastically, but I ended up buying it anyway because Samantha Shannon (the author of the Bone Season) read it and she had loved it. Station Eleven focuses on the intertwining lives of six people: there is Arthur Leander, a celebrated actor; his ex-wife, Miranda; the bystander Jeevan; Kirsten, an actress with the Travelling Symphony; Clark, Arthur’s best friend. And then there is the mysterious self-proclaimed prophet. These six people’s lives illustrate the world before and after the Georgia Flu, a disease that killed 99% of the population.
Now when I picked this up, the premise of the plot alone, moving back and forth in time in a random order combined with this post-apocalyptic world seemed interesting enough to make me want to read it. Not many of this genre show a before and an after, so that was also a massive draw.
What really makes this book come alive is the characters; from Kirsten and her desire to do more than just survive in the after, to the lives of the characters before, every character has their own personality, with all of the main characters having their own identifying moments and personalities. They seemed real to me and I became so invested in their stories that I devoured this book so quickly it was almost surprising, even by my standards.
Station Eleven is a fast paced read that is also a puzzle – how each person relates to the other is particularly interesting and how some of them live in the aftermath of the Georgia Flu. I went into this book completely blind and I am so glad I did. Mandel’s writing is elegant, sparkling and immersive, making this book just as dazzling as critics have said. This book has had glowing reviews all around, and this is one to add to it. I think Station Eleven even has to go onto my favourite book list.