Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
Moving backwards and forwards in time, from the glittering years just before the collapse to the strange and altered world that exists twenty years after, Station Eleven charts the unexpected twists of fate that connect six people: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan – warned about the flu just in time; Arthur’s first wife Miranda; Arthur’s oldest friend Clark; Kirsten, a young actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed ‘prophet’.
I was sent a copy of Station Eleven by the wonderful bods over at Pan Macmillan, and as soon as I saw the cover, I instantly fell in love. The colours, the imagery, it was just so striking.
I quickly got stuck into the book, and I was hooked from the first page. The writing was extremely atmospheric, painting a dark and sombre picture of the world, unlike anything I have ever known.
The introduction to each of the characters was also utterly captivating, and following them on each of their journeys kept my attention throughout. My heartstrings were pulled, I cried, I spread the book flat out and screamed at it. The writing pulled me deep into the heart of the story as it played out beautifully across the pages.
I’m a fan of post-apocalyptic stories, war stories, end of the world tales. But Station Eleven was unlike anything I have read before. It was clever, and it had balls. There were no bombs, no explosions, none of the typical apocalyptic tropes I have read many times before. The over-arching human race destroyer was something much more terrifying, a strain of the flu. Now this may not sound too frightening, but reading Station Eleven at this moment in time, with news of viruses and infections all over our televisions, it makes the story feel a little too close to home and certainly chilled me to my core.
Station Eleven is deeply unsettling, but a book I can’t recommend enough. The story is crafted beautifully, and it’s clear to see that Mandel has researched her subject matter flawlessly.
I enjoyed this book from start to finish, and have already donated both of my copies to friends who I had raved to about it. If you read one book this year, make sure it’s this one.