Station Eleven

Station Eleven

Book - 2014
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Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, "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. An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, from the author of three highly acclaimed previous novels.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, Harper Avenue,, 2014.
Edition: 1st Canadian ed.
Copyright Date: ♭2014
ISBN: 9781443434867
Characteristics: 333 pages ;,23 cm.
Alternative Title: Station 11

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Distressing to read during the pandemic; to compare what went wrong in that scenario ( the core of society did not hold) and think about what can still go wrong today.
I don't know if there was an artistic advantage to that bouncing back and forth in time, if found that confusing. Nevertheless the story line and the characters are engrossing and I could not put the book down.
Society collapsed because that virus moved so fast. Will the new COVID mutations strike humanity at a speed which we can no longer cope with?

l
laphampeak
Jan 21, 2021

Mandel brilliantly tells a story of a group of Shakespearian actors who each have their own personal biography. The book switches between before and after a deadly flu pandemic and what transpires in the future world without any form of life as it was. The next generation knows little of the past world and its technology. It read a little like "The Road" and had a character like Warren Jeffs. Madel wove in and out of various scenarios without losing the reader and bringing a large spans of time and events to a glorious conclusion.

a
AnnSkye
Dec 30, 2020

Reading this novel in the midst of the covid 19 pandemic was a little unsettling but I couldn’t put it down. Definitely worth a read.

a
Aashirya
Dec 28, 2020

Station Eleven is a dystopian novel about a time during and after the Georgia
Flu, which was a large epidemic that took out most of the civilizations around the
world. It takes place in flashbacks both before the plague, in a pre-apocalyptic
setting, and in a post-apocalyptic setting, in which the characters have to survive in
the remains of the world. I really enjoyed this book, because the plague seems
similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the current COVID-19 pandemic is
nowhere as deadly as the plague in the novel. I would definitely recommend this
novel to others, as it is very interesting and a fun read.

n
nancylhenderson
Dec 26, 2020

"Station Eleven" is riveting and a bit terrifying in a way no supernatural thriller could be. I highly reccommend this book. Knowing that it was published in 2014 makes it all the more eerie.

m
mishraneetika
Dec 12, 2020

"Station 11" by Emily St. John Mandel is a book written about the impacts on the world by a pandemic, similar to the one we are currently experiencing in 2020. In the book, a disease called the Georgian Flu spreads from people to people and eventually leads to a point where civilization falls. The author writes from many different perspectives from before and after the pandemic, through characters such as Miranda, Arthur, Jeevan, and Kirsten. Miranda and Arthur are used to show "normal life" before the pandemic, Jeevan experiences the start of the pandemic and watches civilization fall, and Kirsten is from the future showing the impacts the pandemic had on the word. I think this book is a great read and definitely gives us perspective on the coronavirus pandemic that the world is going through right now.

l
LadyDi52
Dec 10, 2020

The time line jumped around all over the place, so it was difficult to keep track of who was where, when. Way too much about the actor who dies in the first chapter, an egotistical womanizer, whose ex-wives feature prominently in the plot. Other than that, a compelling read, I was looking for similarities to what we are going through now with the Covid pandemic.

LPL_SarahM Nov 29, 2020

Currently living through a pandemic has given me some insight that I wouldn't have had if I'd read this book when it initially came out. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing but it did make me shake my head in frustration when, in the first couple of chapters, one of the characters goes to the store and buys carts and carts of food and toilet paper. "That is so selfish!," I yelled as I remembered the days in March when I couldn't find a single roll. Frustrating as the character's actions were, I couldn't help but also give a knowing nod to the author as she clearly knew how humans would act in this scenario maybe by studying history or maybe by prophecy (which would be quite fitting here). I did truly enjoy this book. The way the stories unfolded, it was almost a mystery at times and although occasionally violent, I appreciated a dystopian novel that wasn't steeped in gore.

j
jeanie123
Nov 10, 2020

I found this novel very well-written and I enjoyed reading it very much. I particularly liked the ways the stories kept overlapping and connecting and I did not feel any of these connections were obvious or foreshadowed. I loved being surprised.

1
1weekand1fortnight
Sep 25, 2020

"All three caravans of the Travelling Symphony are labelled as such, THE TRAVELLING SYMPHONY lettered in white of both sides, but the lead caravan carries an additional line of text:

Because survival is insufficient"

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Quotes

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t
Tjad2LT
Jul 13, 2017

"[...] everyone knows when you've got a terrible marriage, it's like having bad breath, you get close enough to a person and it's obvious."

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“She was thinking about the way she’d always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place, the dial turned just one or two degrees.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“They spend all their lives waiting for their lives to begin.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“It was gorgeous and claustrophobic. I loved it and I always wanted to escape.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“She had never entirely let go of the notion that if she reached far enough with her thoughts she might find someone waiting, that if two people were to cast their thoughts outward at the same moment they might somehow meet in the middle.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“No one ever thinks they’re awful, even people who really actually are. It’s some sort of survival mechanism.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

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Age Suitability

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d
dstradling
Jan 11, 2021

dstradling thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

f
frenchhornistba
Apr 13, 2020

frenchhornistba thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

f
FaithR
Feb 03, 2019

FaithR thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

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melwyk Sep 25, 2014

One snowy night in Toronto, an actor playing King Lear drops dead on stage. Only 24 hours later, most of the city is dead from a rapidly spreading virus. The few survivors find, as the electricity and water stop, as the internet drops out, that the virus has killed 99% of the world's population.

The question arises: how to live now? In Emily St John Mandel's unusual approach to a post-apocalyptic novel, the survivors of this modern plague retain their longing for community and civilization, trying their best to live in pockets of humanity across North America.

Early on, we meet the Travelling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors who travel caravan-style around the countryside, performing Shakespeare and symphonies to the scattered inhabitants of tiny settlements. As Kirsten, a main character, has tattooed on her arm: Survival is insufficient.

However, this symphony is also heavily armed, as chaos does exist in the new world. There are those in this rough life who rely on violence, including an eerie Prophet who controls a town the Travelling Symphony rolls into at the start of the story. This Prophet and his followers will pursue them for the rest of the book, adding an edge of suspense.

The story weaves back and forth from apocalyptic present to the past, revealing ways in which all the characters are connected. The constant return to 'before' results in a sense of nostalgia for what we haven't yet lost. Mandel points out precious elements of daily life that her characters have lost forever – the taste of an orange, the feel of air conditioning, ice cream, the ability to connect with one another by phone.

Throughout the book we also encounter Dr. Eleven, a scientist in a graphic novel that Kirsten has carried with her over the many years of post-apocalyptic life. The two volumes she owns of this tiny graphic novel sustain her. Dr. Eleven lives on a satellite, Station Eleven, after the earth is destroyed, and his story reflects her own. This imaginary graphic novel is fleshed out so wonderfully that I hope it is only a matter of time before Mandel releases a real-life edition.

This is a beautiful book; imaginative and full of complex characters, it is a post-apocalyptic novel that combines danger with beauty, sadness with hope. Mandel clearly believes that there is something good in humanity that will endure.

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