Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel follows a group of actors and musicians in a post-apocalyptic world who are trying to preserve the arts. It all begins when a highly contagious, airborne virus sweeps across the world. In a matter of weeks the majority of the world’s population has been eradicated. The survivors are slowly making a new life for themselves but when the caravan of actors and musicians arrive in a town called St. Deborah by the Water, they meet a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who tries to leave the town.
I picked this book up for a few different reasons. The first being that it was a National Book Award finalist. The second being that it came highly recommended by several of my reader friends. Reading this book was definitely a good call. My favorite thing about this book is its unique take on a post apocalyptic world. It seems like most of the books in that genre that I have read in the past few years involve a strong, controlling government or authority or some kind of zombies or creatures to fear. Station Eleven didn’t have those elements. The characters live in a world that many of us can’t imagine but the most dangerous element of that world is the other people in it. To put it simply, the world in Station Eleven seems like a much more realistic and plausible take on how the world could end up if something catastrophic occurs.
Station Eleven alternates between the past and the present as well as between the different characters’ point of view. Mandel did a wonderful job at pulling this off. It allows her to tell the story of how the virus spread and impacted the world while also letting us see how the people who survived ended up where they are. It was easy to follow and the different takes on the story line complimented each other well. It was also a book that really pulled me in. It held my interest and I read it rather quickly.
I enjoyed this book and Mandel’s writing so much that I rated this book a solid five stars. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic stories but would like something a bit different from the typical book in this genre, check out Station Eleven.