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Station Eleven

by Emily St. John Mandel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,781618830 (4.1)887
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)
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» See also 887 mentions

English (604)  Dutch (4)  French (2)  Chinese, traditional (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (613)
Showing 1-5 of 604 (next | show all)
As I am not a science fiction fan, this was often a book I saw at Powells, picked up numerous times on account of it’s beautiful yet simple cover, then eventually put down because I wasn’t into post-apocalyptic themes. How wrong I was!

I now believe that this isn’t a science fiction novel per say, but literature with futuristic ideals accompanied by a dystopian civilization. I was fascinated by the imagination Mandel used and surprised by how quickly I was sucked in. I found that I could relate to certain things like taking airplanes, iPhones, credit cards and newspapers for granted. It’s easy to do the same things every day without a second thought and I think Mandel captured this perfectly and was able to show the readers what could potentially be lost (ie McDonalds).

Despite the novels length, I wanted more of each character. I know that Jeevan’s character was essentially a tool for the plot so I understand why we saw so little of him, but I would have liked to learn more about Tyler. What happened in between leaving Severn City and becoming a prophet? Where was Elizabeth? For being such a sadistic character, I was interested in the development of his psyche but understand that we knew enough to understand that the prophet was Tyler.

I really enjoyed Miranda’s role in the story and felt I identified most with her. Confused about her life and her passions, she made a bold move by marrying Arthur and then again 3 years later by divorcing him. I admired her courageousness to start anew and become a successful businesswoman while nurturing her love of drawing and writing. And although it was sad for her to die alone, it was a suitable ending for her solitary life.

I was a bit confused about the title while reading it. I felt that the reason Mandel chose the name was for the symbolism between worlds: Earth after the Georgia Flu and the characters stuck on Station Eleven. Both were lost in worlds of despair with civilization in view. I thought it was a good parallel connecting the two but also thought it’d be stronger if there was more of a connection to Station Eleven. Perhaps if Tyler had mentioned it while he was living in the airport and it was dubbed the name. ( )
  booksforbrunch | May 6, 2021 |
A very timely read, considering the premise is based on a world where a pandemic has taken over and caused the collapse of society. The majority of the book is in the dystopian future where all the modern conveniences have stopped. The main focus of the book is about an aging actor who stars in a play that takes place in Toronto, Ontario. Overall a good read, it does jump around a lot between timelines, but not in an overall confusing way, but well organized to enhance the storyline. Definitely recommended read if you are looking for a story of multiple characters and how they all relate to each other... It does have some eery similarities to the current pandemic and the possibilities if things get a lot worse... ( )
  sjh4255 | May 4, 2021 |
A fantastic and timely book that, for the first time in years, I couldn't put down until I had finished. Station Eleven is terrifying, sorrowful, and beautiful in equal measures. It manages to weave its various characters and timelines together in a way that falls neatly into place while still being an easy and free-flowing read. ( )
  shotagofish | May 4, 2021 |
On the same night that a famous actor dies on stage, a deadly flu pandemic starts wiping out most of the human race. Our story is told in the 20 years before and after that night, pivoting around that night and the major players in it.

Station Eleven is a literary meditation on the fragility and beauty and robustness of civilization. I found it brutal and much too close to reality, given this world still so nervous about COVID-19. If I'd read it earlier, I think I'd still have noted that it felt rather self-consciously English-class-y (heavy intertextual motif, literary psychology-heavy stylistics, attempts at weighty themes). Not a bad book at all, but not to my taste right now; I wouldn't have picked it up if I'd realized it would feel like The Walking Dead plus Shakespeare and minus zombies. ( )
  pammab | Apr 28, 2021 |
Really loved the slow paced, heavily character focused story of Station Eleven. I liked the new look at a post-apocalyptic world. Most of these kind of books are focused on action or trying to find a vaccine but this story tells the basic human aspect of an disastrous and difficult world. ( )
  darksaint | Apr 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 604 (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 (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emily St. John Mandelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chergé, Gérard deTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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