Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Loved this book! It is an intriguing, complex novel that relies on multiple narratives, jumping forwards and backwards in time while employing a fascinating story arc – well, several, in fact.

Original and engaging, we follow the realities of a post flu epidemic world in which over 90% of the world’s population were killed. Taken by surprise, society is left to run with no government structures. Villages form and people of like mind cluster together to make meaning of their lives. One of these new communities is called the “travelling symphony”, a Shakespeare like cast of actors and musicians who perform “because survival is insufficient”. What a cool dystopian ideal.

As the novel opens, we meet Arthur, a Hollywood star who dies of a heart attack on stage while performing as King Lear and the multiple story narratives then spans decades following the lives of the many who were connected to his story: best friend Clark, ex-wives Miranda and Elizabeth, his son Tyler – soon to be “prophet”, the man who tried to save his life and the girl actress who watched him die.

The plot is pretty hard to capture to be honest; indeed, my confused attempt to summarise it may reflect this challenge! However, let me assure you that it is worth the effort. Thought provoking, original and poetically written, it is a winner.

Rating: 4.1/5

Why? Could easily confuse – requires patience because of the multiple narratives.




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