Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

January 23, 2019

5 / 5 Stars


A wonderful take on the whole post-apocalypse genre.

I'll be honest, I didn't know this was a post-apocalyptic book, and if I had have done, I might not have picked it up. However, I'm really glad I did because it was superb. 


It starts with a death. Not just any death; the death of a highly regarded actor. A little girl, Kirsten, witnesses his death on stage, and Javeen, a paparazzi-come-paramedic, tries to save him.

This is just before the break-out of the Georgia Flu. Not just your average flu virus, unfortunately; but something that wipes out close to all of humanity. 

Thankfully, this book doesn't just focus on the aftermath of the flu epidemic; and that's what lends it depth and resonance. The timeline dips in and out of the past, exploring Arthur's (the actor) life, the women who loved him and his friend, Clark. It also creates a vivid portrayal of life after mass catastrophe; the hardships and the yearning for the past comforts that were taken for granted. This aspect was very powerful, and did get me thinking about all the little luxuries in my own life that I'd miss if they suddenly weren't around.

In some ways, the author's writing style reminded me a bit of Murakami or David Mitchell; though Station Eleven seems way more grounded in reality than the works of either of those two writers. It was something to do with the narrative style I think - simultaneously spare, yet rich. 

I'd definitely recommend this book - it got rave reviews when it came out, and deservedly so. One that I might revisit in the future.


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