23 February 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I was excited about this book because it is a post-apocalypse told from different perspectives; the start of the collapse caused by a flu virus wiping out civilisation as we know it, as well as insight to many years after that and parts before it in the world we are familiar with (and I'd also heard some great reviews about this book). It appealed to my dystopian side and made me uncover a whole post-apocalypse side of myself too - although I prefer zombie versions, this did not disappoint.

"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." (Goodreads)




I want to write this without spoiling it because it's a wonderfully good read. The way Mandel reveals elements of the story are well timed and sometimes, mind blowing. By the time I'd finished reading the book I couldn't remember what was revealed when so it will be safer for me to not reveal too much, if anything, at all. I think the best way I would describe this novel is with a weird little metaphor. It's like, you've got a number of pieces of string before you, all running parallel off in to the distance, and you follow them. As you follow them they start to overlap slowly and over time they plait together. At the end they've all joined to in one knot of string and you just look at it and nod because it all makes sense and there is that deep feeling of satisfaction.

The story follows a range of characters from different parts of the timeline but it isn't too confusing. The opening chapters, or parts, stick to a time period (for example, part one pretty much follows the world on the cusp of the collapse then it moves to the next part following a different character and segregates these two time periods clearly) but as the story ramps up these parts jump between past and present more frequently. It's definitely more confusing to try and write how it all works (without spoilers) but I can confirm that it does work, and it's easy to follow. It's made easy by each character symbolising a time, for me anyway, and although there are a lot of characters to keep track of it's easy to identify who is who within moments of crossing a familiar name.

When I hear the word post-apocalypse I immediately think Zombies. Alas, there are no zombies in Station Eleven, but the antagonist(s) of this novel are much more interesting. We follow survivors in an environment so alien to what we are used to and its fascinating to see how it affects the human condition. For me, it's like there is one thing that sets it off and it drives me crazy, although looking back it's actually a number of things (referring back to the string allegory). I may have to write another review that is a spoilered version so I can just caps lock - "CAN YOU BELIEVE...." style - and get off my chest the awesome intricate story. I recommend this book, definitely. Even though it's a little slow to begin with it is worth sticking too because it gets to a point about half way and it is difficult to put the book down as everything pieces together in a way I didn't see coming.

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars



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6 comments:

  1. I just added this to my to-read list last week! It sounds fantastic, especially since I tend to enjoy post-apocalyptic settings (even non-zombie).

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    1. It is good, for me it was like, getting through the first half just to get to the good stuff is very worth it

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  2. I literally just finished this book. It is SO GOOD! Glad you enjoyed it, too!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed! It was such a clever book, I think it's ruined some of the books I've picked up since because they aren't as well thought out :P

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  3. I'm going through all my "read this" bookmarks and getting organized, and I was so pleased to discover my library has this! Will definitely be checking it out.

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    1. It's different to what I'm used to buy I'm glad I read it, it was worth it looking back on it now

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