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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
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Station Eleven (edition 2015)

by Emily St. John Mandel (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,521658750 (4.1)1 / 927
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)
Member:jessicadobson418
Title:Station Eleven
Authors:Emily St. John Mandel (Author)
Info:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (2015), Edition: Reprint, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
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Work Information

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

  1. 181
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (JenMDB)
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    The Passage by Justin Cronin (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both books are inventive dystopian novels of a future after a pandemic collapses civilization.
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    Rubbah: Both amazing books featuring dangerous flu like viruses and how people cope in emergency situations
  5. 70
    The Stand by Stephen King (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: An ensemble cast of flu survivors journey across the U.S. and through the remains of civilization to fulfill their fated roles in these novels. The Stand is more graphic and action-packed, with a clear theme of good vs. evil.
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    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (generalkala)
    generalkala: Similar multi-strand, multi-era novel.
  10. 20
    Morality Play by Barry Unsworth (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: Muses on memory and the role of art specifically drama set respectively in the alien past and the horrific near future.
  11. 42
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Dystopian North America with a strong female protagonist
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    The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones (rainbowdragon)
    rainbowdragon: Dystopian novel that focuses on the people and their lives.
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    rainbowdragon: Dystopian series with fast spreading deadly flu viruses.
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    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (sturlington)
    sturlington: These are both interesting contemporary works of speculative fiction that play with time and structure.
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(see all 23 recommendations)

2021 (26)
Canada (14)
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» See also 927 mentions

English (647)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Chinese, traditional (1)  German (1)  All languages (656)
Showing 1-5 of 647 (next | show all)
Loved it. Happy to get away from the gun fantasies of the mid-twentieth century action novels for something fresh. ( )
  ggehrke | Jan 16, 2022 |
I really enjoyed this although I think I need to now re-read it to piece together some of the connections established. ( )
  KimZoot | Jan 2, 2022 |
Mandel's luminous 2014 novel tells the story of a gigantic catastrophe through connections - material, emotional, temporal, between the living and the dead.

The connections radiate outward from one night in Toronto, where Arthur Leander, a 51 year old actor, has a fatal heart attack onstage while he plays King Lear. Present, among others, is Kirsten Raymonde, an 8 year old child actor. That same night, the Georgia Flu arrives in Toronto. Within weeks, over 99% of the human species will die.

Looking backward from Arthur's death, we visit his personal history and the people of his life - friends, associates, three ex-wives. Looking forward, twenty years afterward, Kirsten belongs to The Traveling Symphony, a band of musicians and actors who make their living visiting the small, remaining settlements around the Great Lakes, performing music and plays - especially Shakespeare. The world has changed: gone are easy travel, reliable medicine, fast communications. Yet people still love music and theater. The small, ordinary tales of Arthur and Kirsten - his divorces, his career, her rocky relationship with the actor playing Oberon to her Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream - echo the great universe of human connection cut short by the pandemic. Connections are also made via odd material items - a comic book, a paperweight, cell phones - mementos of the old world and touchstones for their possessors.

Mandel's future convinces - that tattoos will be dangerous in a world without antibiotics, for example. At one point the Symphony passes through a town run by a religious cult; experienced in this new world, they see the risk and get out of town immediately after their performance. I do question whether a flu that brings illness in hours and death in days could spread everywhere - shouldn't it kill its early victims too quickly to spread well? And shouldn't there be enough solar panels and hydropower around that the post-apocalyptic world will have at least some electricity? Using these tropes simplifies the story, perhaps in a way that enhances its impact. Also though, Mandel employs the trope of the world enduring years of bloody anarchy after the fall. Kirsten has a facial scar from the first year, whose cause she cannot remember; everyone has trauma from that time and danger still looms in Year Twenty. But Rebecca Solnit has argued that communities of mutual support often form in disasters. Might that angle not have been better, in a book otherwise about people coming together?

Because Mandel's connections do hold. In the midst of our current pandemic, this apocalypse is a refreshing vision of hope. ( )
3 vote dukedom_enough | Jan 1, 2022 |
A must read! ( )
  clawton | Dec 26, 2021 |
Mandel was lucky to have published this pandemic story in 2014. The Georgian (i.e., from the country of Georgia, not the state) quickly devastates the population, with most folks dying within days or even hours of catching it. The episodic novel follows a few of the lucky (?) survivors, whose lives all revolve in one way or another around a famous actor, who as the novel opens is preparing to play King Lear on stage in Toronto--but no spoilers as to what becomes of him. There are lots of interesting scenes here, mostly revolving around the "traveling symphony" which combines musical performances with performances of Shakespeare, having combined with an acting troupe some years after the end of civilization as we know it. Another group of survivors live in an airport. Others have turned to religious extremism--which is the villain in this book. And, of course, it is all connected in one way or another to the Station 11 of the title--a set of two comic books carried by Kirsten, one of the story's lead characters. As I said, it will hold your interest, but there is no real ending and while it is clear the author has a lot of opinions about love, other human relationships, and civilization as we know it to impart, it is all just a bit too pat. Compared to something like Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which is truly moving and harrowing, this is sort of a "cozy" version of the apocalypse!

The audiobook narrator, also named Kirsten, is really really good. ( )
  datrappert | Dec 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 647 (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 (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emily St. John Mandelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chergé, Gérard deTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ciccimarra, Milena ZemiraTranslatorsecondary 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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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Book description
Haiku summary
Pandémie mondiale
Symphonie Itinérante
Shakespeare et SF
(Tiercelin)

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