Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

imagesBook Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This book, about what happens to the world after the Georgia Flu hits it and wipes out most of humanity, may not be the best book to read when you have the flu yourself.  However, I really enjoyed reading it, even if I was feeling under the weather myself. Perhaps it made it easier for me to imagine the world as we know it coming to an end.

We follow Kirsten, Jeevan, and Clark, people whose lives once touched the great actor Arthur Leader, who drops dead in the middle of a production of King Lear. The narrative jumps back and forth from when the epidemic hit to fifteen years later, and hits a few years in between.  One lovely element of this imagined post-apocalyptic world is the troupe of actors and musicians who travel from town to town with caravans painted with the saying:  “Survival is insufficient.” (A nod to Star Trek).

There are some heart-wrenching observations about what it means to be human, and what makes up humanity. One observation, “Hell is the absence of the people you long for” seemed especially poignant.  But I really enjoyed the conversation about how people who knew what the world was before the flu seemed to have lost more than those who never knew the ways things once were: “What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

I’ve been off the dystopian novel for a while, but this beautifully written rendition brought me back around.  I especially enjoyed the bits with Miranda, creator of the graphic novel Station Eleven, which weaves itself through the narrative in wonderful ways.

Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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