Published on April 27th, 2015 | by Liz Babiak0
The Perfect Book: Station Eleven
I’ve been telling everyone I know about Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I finished it on Saturday while Everest
snored napped in the backseat during a car-induced slumber and I just sat there for a few moments, realizing no words remained and relishing a sense of completeness and openness.
It’s been a long while since I’ve managed to get through a work of fiction and when I first pulled this eBook from the library, I had no idea it would be so perfect. The synopsis piqued my interest just enough to download it, but in all honesty I didn’t think I’d become so hooked.
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 theatre 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.
I don’t usually read post-apocalyptic novels, as the ones I’ve been explosed too have felt science fiction-y. For me, this story is plausible and even more imaginable given it’s set around Toronto/Lake Michigan with handfuls of familiar places dotting the pages. It’s just familiar enough to seem true.
Why else is it so magical? The character development is strong without endless pages of descriptions and inner monologues. It has a broad cast, the story told from a few different viewpoints while still maintaining an easy-to-follow plot line without being too light.
It touches on the things we take for granted—electricity, oranges, air travel—and reminds us how much the internet has changed THE WHOLE WORLD. How social media is more than photos of your dinner, but also just… photos of your dinner. How we’re connected and not connected and alone and together and vulnerable everywhere in between.
It was just surprising enough, no crazy twists or turns, few loose ends. Thank you, Station Eleven, for welcoming me in to your world, entering my dreams, and drawing me in so close.
Have you read it? What’s your reaction?