Book Number Twelve – Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel.
This book has been on my radar for a while now, the first I read of it was in a Buzzfeed article that discussed the novels to look out for this year and I have to say they got it spot on.
It opens with famous actor Arthur Leander dying on stage during a performance of King Lear, that same night a deadly virus, known as the Georgia Flu, touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again. Anyone who contracts the ‘flu’ is usually hospitalised within a couple of hours and dies hours later.
Twenty years on and the novel picks up with the Travelling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors who travel the settlements of survivors and perform for them. When they stop off at a previously visited town, all does not seem right and pretty soon they come under threat. The novel flits between present day and the desolate world following the flu and the past, the years and days leading up to that fateful day when most of humanity was wiped out.
This is a really gripping novel, beautifully written with the paths of the characters being cleverly and expertly woven, I found it hard to put down. What was most noticeable though was how thought provoking it was, perhaps because it wasn’t a book that went with a zombie-esque style, which it could have easily done, but instead focused on the frailty of the human race when faced with a virus they can’t fight. I love authors who have the ability to take something painful or raw but write about it in such a poetic way, and for me that’s exactly what Emily did.
It makes you stop and think about the things we place value and dependence on, makes you appreciate even the smaller things we take for granted. Station Eleven is an intelligent page turner that balances tension, heartbreak and questions about the important things in life perfectly. One of the best books I’ve read all year.
‘Outside the world was ending and snow continued to fall.’
Star Rating out of 5: 5
Happy reading my lovely bookworms.