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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Review

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Title: Station Eleven
Author:
Pages: 336
Published: September 9th 2014 by Knopf
Source: eaudiobook library
Link: goodreads, Email Mandel.com

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 Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, 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.
This was the third audio book I listened to on my summer road trip.  I am so glad a friend of mine who is a big reader too recommended it to me.  She failed to tell me that the first little while was not good.  I almost didn't continue it when I was first listening to it in the car.  I thought maybe it was because I was tired and just sick of listening to books and needed some music. But my friend said the same thing happened to her when listening.  So maybe this book just starts out slow.  I am surprised I hadn't heard about this book before now. 

The book is basically about the planet after a super virus comes through and kills most of the population.  It is not a unique plot.  The first thing that comes to mind for me is Stephen King's The Stand which I love and blew me away.  But the writing does make this book engaging.  This book is good because we read about different characters and how their lives mix before and after the virus hits the population.  I think the book was kind of beautiful.  Even though the characters were faced with terrible times we still read about the good things.  I enjoyed how the book would flashback to before the virus during old Hollywood.  The ending of the book is left up in the air which didn't bother me, I think that those type of endings are perfect for books about the end of the world.

One part of the book I thought was neat is that the people were traveling to a Museum of Civilization that they had heard about.  Eventually while reading we get to the Museum and it made me wonder if all technology and everything disappeared and we reverted to the days of ruff living what would I want to remember the most from technology??  My phone?  A fan?  Personal hygiene would be something I would really miss.  Brushing my teeth and having a dentist!  I think I would miss a phone, and I'm not talking a cell phone.  I mean just a phone to be able to reach out and talk to my loved ones.  

One of the blogs I follow did a fantastic book club meeting about this book.  Seriously why isn't there a book club like Delicious Reads near me. Overall I think this was a neat book and it will make you think.  In a book club I can see this book having amazing discussions. I give this 4 stars for the slow start but then it becomes wonderful.
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