Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

                This novel begins the night Arthur dies. He collapsed on stage while performing King Lear. His obituary would be in the next day’s paper. The night of his collapse would be the night the pandemic really began. The hospitals in Toronto were overflowing, the incubation period for patients with the Georgia Flu was hours, with death in days. And it was spreading, faster than anyone could imagine. Twenty years have passed since that night. Survivors are now in Year 20, since the collapse of civilization as it was once known. The Traveling Symphony that Kirsten travels with has seen what’s left of the world. They have their territory that they feel secure in covering after all these many years. Whenever she thinks back on that night, the night the world begins to end, it’s always Arthur that she remembers.
                I’m not sure how this dystopian novel worked as well as it did. I’ve read quite a few dystopian novels centered around the idea of a plague that wipes out the majority of the population. The way this one focuses on the journey of the survivors is something very unique. Arthur is the center around which this story prevails, which is somewhat interesting because Arthur is dead. But all of the characters who we become familiar with are connected through his life. Reading about the fate of each of these characters, with rotating narratives between time and characters, was really interesting choice. And St. John Mandel is able to really execute in that regard.
                I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was a fresh new look at a way to tell a dystopian story. I loved the tone of the novel and the efforts she put in world building. I thought that each character brought a different perspective and helped tell a really well rounded story. I would definitely recommend this book. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. 


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