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Station Eleven: A novel by Emily St. John…

Station Eleven: A novel (edition 2014)

by Emily St. John Mandel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,1725061,052 (4.09)778
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. 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.… (more)
Title:Station Eleven: A novel
Authors:Emily St. John Mandel
Info:Knopf (2014), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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» See also 778 mentions

English (501)  Dutch (2)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (505)
Showing 1-5 of 501 (next | show all)
Arthur Leander, a famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. A flu pandemic arrives and civilization as we know it comes to an end. Kirsten Raymonde and The Traveling Sympathy dedicate themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. When they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. This is a post apocalyptic book and was not really in my comfort zone and there didn't seem to be much point of the story. I don't think I'll be reading any more books by Emily St. John Mandel and I don't think I can even recommend this story. ( )
  EadieB | Dec 4, 2019 |
This is what I believe to be one of the more accurate apocalypse books out there. I think if a pandemic sweeps the globe, it's not going to be a bunch of action hero's roaming around fighting people. It's going to be months of boredom with people stuck in an airport with nowhere to go.

I wasn't quite sure about the whole comic book subplot and I wish it spent more time in the After the pandemic vs before but overall I enjoyed the book. ( )
  nmorse | Dec 3, 2019 |
The Georgia flu has decimated the world's population - only 1% of the humans remain, and those eke out a living wherever they happened to be when the flu took over. Electricity, gasoline, internet...all the conveniences people had come to rely on and take for granted are gone. But a band of wanderers calling themselves the Traveling Symphony - motto (and a theme of the novel): “Survival is insufficient." - are bringing music and theater to the settlements that have formed around the Great Lakes.

The narrative see-saws between the pre-flu world and the post-flu world. The pre-flu life and death of Arthur Leander, a famous Hollywood actor, create ripples that still reach the Traveling Symphony two, three decades after the flu - even though only one member of the company even knew Leander.

Mandel has written a hymn of praise to our manmade world and all its quotidian marvels. By having characters be pierced by memories of the particular objects and amenities they miss, she spotlights what we take for granted: art, airplanes, the internet, the ability to talk to someone on the other side of the world instantly. She also communicates a hopeful vision of what survives a societal collapse: yes, there are the power-hungry, the delusional, and the cruel; but the overwhelming majority of those who remain simply want a secure and peaceful life with the people they love. ( )
  rhowens | Nov 26, 2019 |
Pretty good apocolyptic dystopian sci fi though there was very little new about the scenario ("The Road" by Cormac McCarthy for example dealt with the aftermath of apocolypse in almost the exact same way). However, I liked the way the author interwove the story of Arthur forward and backward in time. I kept thinking while listening to this book about the Dark Ages & the Black Death; this epidemic was supposedly much worse but the parallels are apparent.

Kirsten Potter does a splendid job narrating. ( )
  leslie.98 | Nov 22, 2019 |
I tore through this with heedless pleasure, to steal a line. Too emotional to write a review, yet. ( )
  charlyk | Nov 15, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 501 (next | show all)
Station Eleven is not so much about apocalypse as about memory and loss, nostalgia and yearning; the effort of art to deepen our fleeting impressions of the world and bolster our solitude. Mandel evokes the weary feeling of life slipping away, for Arthur as an individual and then writ large upon the entire world.
added by zhejw | editThe Guardian, Justine Jordan (Sep 25, 2014)
Survival may indeed be insufficient, but does it follow that our love of art can save us? If “Station Eleven” reveals little insight into the effects of extreme terror and misery on humanity, it offers comfort and hope to those who believe, or want to believe, that doomsday can be survived, that in spite of everything people will remain good at heart, and that when they start building a new world they will want what was best about the old.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Sigrid Nunez (Sep 12, 2014)
Mandel’s solid writing and magnetic narrative make for a strong combination in what should be a breakout novel.
added by sturlington | editKirkus Reviews (Jun 17, 2014)

» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emily St. John Mandelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hawkins, JackNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellner, StephanieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuhn, WibkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, KirstenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weintraub, AbbyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The bright side of the planet moves toward darkness
And the cities are falling asleep, each in its hour,
And for me, now as then, it is too much.
There is too much world.
—Czeslaw Milosz
The Separate Notebooks
In Memory of Emilie Jacobson
First words
The king stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored. This was act 4 of King Lear, a winter night at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
Jeevan's understanding of disaster preparedness was based entirely on action movies, but on the other hand, he'd seen a lot of action movies.
There had always been a massive delicate infrastructure of people, all of them working unnoticed around us, and when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt.
I was here for the end of electricity.
He would jettison everything that could possibly be thrown overboard, this weight of money and possessions, and in this casting off he'd be a lighter man.
We traveled so far and your friendship meant everything. It was very difficult, but there were moments of beauty. Everything ends. I am not afraid.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.

One snowy night, Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a performance of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded, and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm, is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final goodbyes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, 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.

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