Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher: Knopf, September 2014
Summary/Review: The Georgia Flu has swept the globe, wiping out 99% of the world’s population. With them went everything that had been taken for granted: technology, medicine, and electricity to name a few. Those who survived are forced into an uncertain future fraught with dangers.
Among the survivors is Jeevan Chaudhary. On the very eve of the pandemic, Jeevan was in the audience when famous actor Arthur Leander was struck down on stage. After aiding in the attempt to save the actor, Jeevan learns of the impending disaster from a doctor friend at the hospital. With this advance notice, he is able to stock up supplies and attempt to wait out the disaster holed up in an apartment with his brother. He could never have imagined what would be left of the world when he emerged. Kirsten Raymonde, a child actress standing off stage when Arthur is struck, is barely 8 years old when the flu hits and life as she knows it is changed forever. Left to wander the landscape with her older brother, Kirsten learns quickly what it takes to survive.
Fast forward 20 years and Kirsten is now part of the Travelling Symphony, a troupe that travels from one community to the next playing music and performing Shakespeare. Dangers have always lurked in the wasteland that they travel, but now a new and greater threat has emerged in the form of the Prophet. Again, life as she knows it is threatened and Kirsten will do whatever it takes to keep her new “family” from harm.
Yes, another dystopic novel but the characters, not the chaos surrounding them, are the focus of this story. I love Emily’s writing. She has the ability to draw you in so completely that you are right there, watching events play out before you. With an uncanny ability to tie everything together without forsaking her beautiful writing, she is an author who should not be missed.
Who will like this book? Someone who is interested in dystopias but is sick of the same old thing. Someone who is looking for a character-driven story.
If you like this, try this: Mandel has also written “Last Night in Montreal” and “Lola Quartet”, so if you liked her writing there is more to try. If you’re interested in dystopic fiction, there are plenty of options: try “Handmaid’s Tale”, a classic by Margaret Atwood, which is more based on societal collapse than an outbreak. Other titles include “Hunger Games” and “Divergent” as YA crossovers, or “1984”. If you’re interested in dystopia after an outbreak or health issue, try “Blindness” by Jose Saramago, or “World War Z” by Max Brooks.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
This one was reviewed with an ARC – an advanced reader. What does this mean? It means that since it’s not published yet, we can’t buy it for the library quite yet. But be on the lookout!