Thursday, July 14, 2016

Station Eleven

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
Vintage Books
Penguin Random House
New York, New York
ISBN: 978-0-8041-7244-8
Trade Paperback
$ 15. 95
352 pages

"I'm talking about these people who've ended up in one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed.  Do you know what I mean?  They've done what's expected of them.  They want to do something different but it's impossible now, there's a mortgage, kids, whatever, they're trapped...You probably encounter people like him all the time.  High-functioning sleepwalkers, essentially."
And so it begins.
How often is the world we live in one step away from annihilation?   No, not a comet hitting the Yucatan peninsula, but one choice, one small event or virus that could change the way we live.
Have you ever seen an actor who left a lifetime impression on you?  For Kirsten Raymonde, that person is Arthur Leander, who is a famous Hollywood actor.  Unfortunately, she remembers Leander having a heart attack during a production of King Lear. 
That same night was an unlucky night for many.  As Leander is dying, many are just receiving a flu bug that will quickly become a global pandemic, ending the world as we know it, leaving alive only 1% of the global population.
After twenty years, Kirsten is part of a traveling group of actors and musicians sharing their art with the chosen ones who have survived.  Life has changed substantially in twenty-years, deteriorating from a global world of communication and travel to basic day-to-day survival with the influence of a prophet.
Station Eleven is the fourth novel written by Emily St. John Martel and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pen/Faulkner Award.
Station Eleven is about the people in how they interact in attempting to rebuild civilization.  The idea of sharing music and theater in a survivalist society provides a bit of hope and light in this dim post-apocryphal tale.
The characterization in Station Eleven, I found hopeful with these diverse people who are often shallow to incredibly deep while learning to rebuild humanity, transportation, civilization, and a sense of belonging.   The importance of being a part of a community and the need to be needed are embedded as the story alters between the past and the present.

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