Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Review: Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a different take on the future. It was named Entertainment Weekly’s top fiction book of the year, and I’m good with that. We meet Arthur Leander, a famous actor, as he has a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, former paparazzi is the EMT who tries to save him, and a child actress Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as her friend and mentor dies. Meanwhile, a horrible flu is breaking out. This is the last night of normalcy.  

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. This nomadic troupe moves between settlements never knowing what they’ll find. Kirsten lives by a tattoo on her arm – a line from Star Trek: Because survival is insufficient.  Unfortunately, the arrival into St. Deborah by the Water finds them battling a new violent prophet. The troupe is tested and friendship, love, and the new order of family proves momentous.  

Cover blurb – 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….Strange twists of fate connect them (Arthur, Jeevan, Kirsten, and more) all.  A novel of art, memory, and ambition, 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. 

This book truly reflects on the people involved. Many still remember how things were and can tell stories -rueful scratching of the head as they think back. I enjoyed Emily St .John Mandel’s characters and the lives portrayed before the flu, and now after.   

p. 32 No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. 

Station Eleven entertains and makes one think. It’s a worthwhile way to end 2014 in the world of fiction.



  1. Thanks for the review, Joanne. Wishing you the best for the holidays!

  2. It's hard to imagine a world without the Internet. Sounds like a very intriguing book. Thanks for the wonderful review, Joanne!


  3. I have a very long reading list but I think this is interesting enough to add to it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sounds like a good one! Great review!