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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
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Station Eleven

by Emily St. John Mandel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,792547934 (4.09)817
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 817 mentions

English (541)  Dutch (2)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (546)
Showing 1-5 of 541 (next | show all)
This tale is mild. It's the first thing that comes to my mind.

Almost all of the potential and possibly striking conflicts are glossed over or avoided entirely, given up in favor of character study and an exploration of memory; its faults and its joys. This is also what sets the novel apart from so many other dystopian SF, but unfortunately for me, I still would have enjoyed a bit of the grit.

Fortunately for us, the readers, the novel is first and foremost character driven. Plot is not even remotely necessary, and the shifting between two different time periods only serves to aggrandize the meta-theme of art and how important it is, not only for survival, but also for defining what it means to be human, no matter what your circumstances.

I can get behind that.

Unfortunately, I'm spoiled by my memory of such novels such as Lucifer's Hammer by Niven and Pournelle, and especially the harrowing quest to save as many books as possible before the big splash. The later sacrifice in that novel by the one man who held the knowledge still reverberates with me.

But then, that was all about saving science, and not so much with saving art. Perhaps what I really wanted was a powerful novel with a focus on the deepest desires of art and fame. This novel was good, it just wasn't the type of novel that grabs me by my shirt and screams in my face that it is THE novel to inspire. I liked it. It just didn't wow me.

Brad K Horner's Blog ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
4.5 stars.

I loved this so much - why did I wait 3 years to pick this up?!

My favorite stories are always the ones where we follow different sets of characters and get to piece together how their lives overlap and eventually we get to watch them gain that knowledge, too - and this book was an excellent example of this.

Seeing the different ways people found to survive in spite of the apocalypse, their perseverence and hope and especially also the Traveling Symphony's belief that there's more to life than sheer survival really struck a chord with me. ( )
  j_tuffi | May 30, 2020 |
It is a rare author who can weave together disparate stories so elegantly and engagingly, especially with an over-arching theme that has been done quite a few times before. I so thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm already close to finishing her followup, Glass Hotel. I'll need to track down her earlier books. A great talent. ( )
  hhornblower | May 28, 2020 |
Station Eleven is one of those stories where I think it is important to set aside any expectations before beginning the journey. It is not your traditional post-apocalyptic survival story (although there are some common tropes that do appear). Instead, Station Eleven is about human connections, what it means to be human, and how our minor interactions can have a profound impact on the people around us even long after we are gone. Emily St. John Mandel beautifully weaves this tapestry of lives who were affected by their connection to one man before, during, and after a deadly outbreak wipes out the majority of the population and human civilization. Her writing is wonderfully evocative, and she frames the story in such a beautiful, poignant way. Five stars. ( )
  hianbai | May 28, 2020 |
While this book was not at all what I expected, and some parts of it were subpar, the overarching story is good and some of the characters were awesome. Good setting, good voice in the writing, I will be on the look out for more from this author. ( )
  MaxAndBradley | May 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 541 (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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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Emily St. John Mandel is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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