Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven tells the story of a pandemic that kills a majority of the population, leaving the survivors in a shockingly realistic post-apocalyptic world.
Within weeks of the deadly flu virus arriving, civilization has been destroyed. Stocked food is diminishing, electricity is waning, and oil is disappearing. Over the next 20 years, the survivors of the pandemic learn to live in this new world. As St. John Mandel tells the stories of several characters – pre- and post-apocalypse, she surprisingly turns a story that could have been heavily sci-fi / post-apocalypse into one about not only surviving, but thriving; about relationships and what’s important in life; and about the sad truth that this life is fleeting.
Please take caution while reading Station Eleven if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Child abuse / pedophilia
- Death / dying
I had no idea what I was getting into when I cracked Station Eleven open (finally; it took me way too long to read). And let me tell you – I was so pleasantly surprised and just blown away by the humanity and reality of this story. What could have so easily been a fascinating, gritty dystopian sci-fi magnificently became so so much more – an anthology of surprisingly interconnected people whose lives are altered before, during, and after the pandemic. I loved learning about the (scarily realistic) pandemic, but it pales in comparison to the complicated lives that each character leads.
The characters and their development are absolutely top-notch. I wanted to know everything about their lives and couldn’t get enough of how surprisingly they continued to connect to one another. The characters and their stories are brilliant.
This book has been out for six years, and it took me six years too long to read it. Don’t let the sci-fi backdrop – which, by the way, is fascinating in and of itself – scare you off from a universally lovable story, sparkling writing, and astounding characters.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on Station Eleven. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!