Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel // an unsettling reflection on civilization

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Title: Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Published: September 9, 2014

Pages: 336

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

Amazon / Barnes & Nobles / Goodreads

Goodreads Description:An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

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 theater troupe known as the Traveling 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.

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After putting this book on the back-burner for over two years, it has officially made it to my all-time favorites list.

First off, it was not what I was expecting at all. I committed the age-old crime of judging Station Eleven by its cover and, based off the (truly minimal) stars on the front, I assumed the story would take place in space. That, plus the fact that Station Eleven sounded like a space station (which I technically wasn’t wrong to believe), the book gave me the impression of being a space opera. While that wasn’t the case, I was pleasantly surprised that the book was so much better than my initial estimation of it.

I know some of you are thinking, “But, the book is clearly not about space in the synopsis,” and, I agree. Buuuut, 𝘐 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘺𝘯𝘰𝘱𝘴𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘺𝘱𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘴𝘰 𝘴𝘩𝘩𝘩𝘩𝘩. We’ve already established that I’m a sheep.
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