It’s been a long time since I have read a book and gotten that wonderful feeling of reading a favorite book for the first time. Of course, I’ve felt the delight of reading a really good book many times already this year, but up until Station Eleven, I had not felt that otherworldly magic of meeting a new favorite book. The kind of book you know you’ll reread. The kind of book you hate to leave. The kind of book that you will stay up late reading not matter how creepy or intense it gets because you simply cannot part from it.
Station Eleven isn’t like most post-apocalyptic novels. While its atmosphere feels quite akin to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, it’s much less action and goal-driven. This is a meditation on civilization and life, both as we experience it presently and what it might devolve to in the wake of a pandemic. It’s about the minutiae of life, and it artfully weaves together Shakespeare, Star Trek, celebrities, and graphic novels.
“What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”
― Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
I loved the non-linear narrative style and multiple perspectives. The interconnectedness of all the characters was wonderful too, and makes for a delightfully intricate plot that is extremely well-crafted. If you’re looking for romance and action, this probably isn’t the right novel for you; while this story contains romantic relationships and intense, unsettling moments, it’s much more about the the smaller bits of life that shape our everyday experiences. It’s also a lot easier to take in than Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. A lot of the creepy and gruesome stuff in this novel occurs off-page or is recounted second-hand, which in some ways makes it creepier.
If you’re a fan of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or liked the interconnectedness of characters in the movie Valentine’s Day or nonlinear narratives like Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, then you might enjoy this story.
Title(s): Station Eleven
Author(s): Emily St. John Mandel
Overall Rating: 5/5
Format Accessed: eBook
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Additional Reading: Maggie Stiefvater’s review