Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher: Knopf Books 2014
Genre: Fantasy -- post-apocalypse
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Challenges: I Love Libraries; Popsugar - Dystopian Novel (although I would classify as post-apocalyptic...); Women Authors
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.
Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.
I've heard such great things about this book. Finally picked it up at the library as one of my random choices for February. I sped through this one, reading it in two days while home sick. At first, I felt like Mandel was telling too many unrelated stories, but quickly it became apparent that all these stories were connected. We just had to dig into these characters to see the connections. Pretty soon, I was deep into their characters and their survival (or non-survival as the case may be). I was fascinated by the recurring appearance of water and its importance to the character. I loved the Shakespeare connection. While the plot focuses on survival in a post-apocalyptic world, I felt like the book was really focused on the human condition. We dug deep into these characters, finding out their motivations, secrets, and dreams. I loved it! Kirsten was such a great main character. I wanted to spend so much more time with her. Highly recommend.