Station Eleven

Station Eleven

by Emily St. John Mandel

Hardcover

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Overview

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
 
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.
 
Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.
 
Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385353304
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 391,247
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Emily St. John Mandel was born in British Columbia, Canada. She is the author of three previous novels—Last Night in Montreal, The Singer’s Gun, and The Lola Quartet—all of which were Indie Next picks. She is a staff writer for The Millions, and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2013 and Venice Noir. She lives in New York City with her husband.

www.emilymandel.com

Read an Excerpt

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. He started with water, filled one of the oversized shopping carts with as many cases and bottles as he could fit. There was a moment of doubt on the way to the cash registers, straining against the weight of the cart—was he overreacting?—but there was a certain momentum now, too late to turn back. The clerk raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

 “I’m parked just outside,” he said. “I’ll bring the cart back.” The clerk nodded, tired. She was young, early twenties probably, with dark bangs that she kept pushing out of her eyes. He forced the impossibly heavy cart outside and half-pushed, half-skidded through the snow at the exit. There was a long ramp down into a small park-like arrangement of benches and planters. The cart gained speed on the incline, bogged down in deep snow at the bottom of the ramp and slid sideways into a planter.

It was eleven twenty. The supermarket closed in forty minutes. He was imagining how long it would take to bring the cart up to Frank’s apartment, to unload it, the time required for tedious explanations and reassurances of sanity before he could return to the grocery store for more supplies. Could there be any harm in leaving the cart here for the moment? There was no one on the street. He called Hua on his way back into the store.

 “What’s happening now?” He moved quickly through the store while Hua spoke. Another case of water—Jeevan was under the impression that one can never have too much—and then cans and cans of food, all the tuna and beans and soup on the shelf, pasta, anything that looked like it might last a while. The hospital was full of flu patients and the situation was identical at the other hospitals in the city. The ambulance service was overwhelmed. Thirty-seven patients had died now, including every patient who’d been on the Moscow flight and two E.R. nurses who’d been on duty when the first patients came in. The shopping cart was almost unmanageably heavy. Hua said he’d called his wife and told her to take the kids and leave the city tonight, but not by airplane. Jeevan was standing by the cash register again, the clerk scanning his cans and packages. The part of the evening that had transpired in the Elgin Theatre seemed like possibly a different lifetime. The clerk was moving very slowly. Jeevan passed her a credit card and she scrutinized it as though she hadn’t just seen it five or ten minutes ago.

 “Take Laura and your brother,” Hua said, “and leave the city tonight.”
 
“I can’t leave the city tonight, not with my brother. I can’t rent a wheelchair van at this hour.”

 In response there was only a muffled sound. Hua was coughing.
 
“Are you sick?” Jeevan was pushing the cart toward the door.

 “Goodnight, Jeevan.” Hua disconnected and Jeevan was alone in the snow. He felt possessed. The next cart was all toilet paper. The cart after that was more canned goods, also frozen meat and aspirin, garbage bags, bleach, duct tape.

 “I work for a charity,” he said to the girl behind the cash register, his third or fourth time through, but she wasn’t paying much attention to him. She kept glancing up at the small television above the film development counter, ringing his items through on autopilot. Jeevan called Laura on his sixth trip through the store, but his call went to voicemail.

 “Laura,” he began. “Laura.” He thought it better to speak to her directly and it was already almost eleven fifty, there wasn’t time for this. Filling the cart with more food, moving quickly through this bread-and-flower-scented world, this almost-gone place, thinking of Frank in his 22nd floor apartment, high up in the snowstorm with his insomnia and his book project, his day-old New York Times and his Beethoven. Jeevan wanted desperately to reach him. He decided to call Laura later, changed his mind and called the home line while he was standing by the checkout counter, mostly because he didn’t want to make eye contact with the clerk.
 
“Jeevan, where are you?” She sounded slightly accusatory. He handed over his credit card.
 
“Are you watching the news?”
 
“Should I be?”

“There’s a flu epidemic, Laura. It’s serious.”

“That thing in Russia or wherever? I knew about that.”

“It’s here now. It’s worse than we’d thought. I’ve just been talking to Hua. You have to leave the city.” He glanced up in time to see the look the checkout girl gave him.

Have to? What? Where are you, Jeevan?” He was signing his name on the slip, struggling with the cart toward the exit, where the order of the store ended and the frenzy of the storm began. It was difficult to steer the cart with one hand. There were already five carts parked haphazardly between benches and planters, dusted now with snow.

“Just turn on the news, Laura.”

“You know I don’t like to watch the news before bed. Are you having an anxiety attack?”

“What? No. I’m going to my brother’s place to make sure he’s okay.”

“Why wouldn’t he be?”

“You’re not even listening. You never listen to me.” Jeevan knew this was probably a petty thing to say in the face of a probable flu pandemic, but couldn’t resist. He plowed the cart into the others and dashed back into the store. “I can’t believe you left me at the theatre,” he said. “You just left me at the theatre performing CPR on a dead actor.”

“Jeevan, tell me where you are.”

“I’m in a grocery store.” It was eleven fifty-five. This last cart was all grace items: vegetables, fruit, bags of oranges and lemons, tea, coffee, crackers, salt, preserved cakes. “Look, Laura, I don’t want to argue. This flu’s serious, and it’s fast.”

 “What’s fast?”

“This flu, Laura. It’s really fast. Hua told me. It’s spreading so quickly. I think you should get out of the city.” At the last moment, he added a bouquet of daffodils.
           
 

Reading Group Guide

  The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group’s discussion of Station Eleven, the dazzling new novel by acclaimed author Emily St. John Mandel.

Interviews

A Conversation with Emily St. John Mandel, Author of Station Eleven

What is Station Eleven about? What is the significance of the title?

Station Eleven is about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North America. It's also about friendship, love, what it means to devote a life to art, what remains when civilization crumbles, music, oppressive dinner parties, and knife-throwing.

The narrative moves back and forth in time between the years leading up to a societal collapse, and a point in time twenty years later, when the traveling company moves between the settlements of the altered world, performing Shakespeare and music. Station Eleven is the title of a comic book that one of the actors, Kirsten, carries with her on the road. It was given to her as a little girl, just before the world ended, and she's held on to it ever since. It's the object that connects the two time periods in the book, and I suppose one could also see it as a stand-in for the burden of memory that these characters carry with them. Most of them retain some recollection of what the world was like before the collapse, and the more they remember of that lost world, the more they've lost.

Station Eleven is a departure from your past works of fiction. What inspired you to write a post-apocalyptic novel?

It was partly just that I wanted to write something different from my previous books. My first three novels were generally categorized as literary noir, and as much as I love that genre, I didn't want to be pigeonholed as a crime writer—not because I have anything against crime fiction or crime writers, just because I don't want to be pigeonholed as anything. It was also partly that I wanted to write a love letter to the modern world—the high-speed trains, internet, antibiotics, electricity, cell phones, all of these wonderfully useful things that we take for granted. I've always loved post-apocalyptic novels, and it occurred to me that one way to consider the modern world would be to write about its absence.

The novel opens with the death of a famous actor from an apparent heart attack, mid-performance of King Lear. That same night, the reader witnesses the beginning of a flu pandemic that wipes out all but a few pockets of civilization. Why did you choose to feature this scene, and this play, as a catalyst of sorts to the world's demise?

I chose that opening partly for technical reasons—I wanted to open the book with a gripping scene—and partly because King Lear is a play that's deeply concerned with loss, and a play about losing everything seemed a fitting way to usher out the pre-pandemic world. I liked the idea of a theatre full of people who have no idea that these are the last few hours before the world comes undone. By the morning the news will be full of this overwhelming pandemic, within a week the city will have shut down, but first they had this experience together in a beautiful theatre on the last normal night of their lives.

Fifteen years after the pandemic, the reader is introduced to "The Traveling Symphony," a troupe that roams the desolate landscape of the upper Midwest performing Shakespeare plays to small groups of survivors. Left in a world without electricity, without running water, without contemporary luxuries, the troupe lives by the slogan, "survival is insufficient." Explain what inspired you to create the group, and why you chose to focus on Shakespeare in particular.

This book changed a great deal between the time I started thinking about it and the final execution, but it always involved a company of Shakespearean actors. I'd originally thought the book would be about the life of an actor in a scrappy-but-underfunded touring Shakespearean theatre troupe in Canada. Later I changed the setting to a post-apocalyptic North America, but the troupe remained. It seemed to me that people would want what was best about the world, and for me, what was best about the world would include the plays of William Shakespeare.

For the first few drafts, I had the company performing plays from different eras, even teleplays, but that started to seem a little incongruous: I had this company traveling over a desolate landscape, performing episodes of Seinfeld and How I Met Your Mother to communities of people who lived without electricity, and it just didn't quite make sense. Those works are products of the modern world, and of course, in a post-apocalyptic scenario you're no longer in the modern world; you're back in the age of candlelight.

Also, it seemed to me that there are some interesting parallels between Shakespeare's time and the post-pandemic era about which I was writing, so as I continued revising Station Eleven, it began to seem more and more natural that the company would focus exclusively on Shakespeare. In Shakespeare's era, theatre was often a matter of traveling companies moving from town to town, performing by candlelight. Also, he lived in a time and a place that was haunted by recurring episodes of bubonic plague, and you see it here and there in his texts. You've mentioned in interviews that you wrote Station Eleven as a "love letter to our world right now." When writing the novel, what did you determine that you would miss most about your everyday life?

Electricity and running water. Also, modern dentistry, in the absence of which I would have lost almost all of my teeth by now. Why did you choose to set most of the post-apocalyptic part of your novel in the Midwest and life beforehand mainly in Toronto? Why these two places specifically?

A year or so before I started working on this book, I went on a book tour in Michigan. There were a couple of stops along the lakeshore—Brilliant Books in Sutton Bay, although they've since moved to Traverse City, and McLean & Eakin in Petoskey—and I fell in love with the area. It's a beautiful part of the world, with excellent bookstores. I knew I wanted to set something there, just because I liked it so much. When I started writing Station Eleven, the lakeshore struck me as an ideal location for my traveling company, for tedious practical reasons having to do with continuous proximity to fresh water.

I've been interested in writing about Toronto for a while. I like that city a great deal, and I was there from ages eighteen through twenty-two, which are obviously very formative years. Also, I had a strange experience there once, and this is no reflection on Toronto, but it might have marked the first time I started thinking about what a post-apocalyptic city would be like: I was walking up a brightly-lit commercial street one night—I was probably about nineteen at the time—and just for a second, the lights blinked out. Every streetlight, every light in every store. They came back on so quickly that everyone on the street was asking one another, "Did you see that? Did that really just happen?", but the moment stayed with me. It only takes an instant of blackness to suggest the terror of a city with no electricity.

New York's gone dark twice in the years since I moved here—the 2003 blackout, and then those strange days after Hurricane Sandy when lower Manhattan had no electricity, during which time I somehow brilliantly managed to get stranded downtown after dark two evenings in a row—but I think that flicker in Toronto was the first time I started thinking about the fragility of the grid.

Your novel challenges the reader's perceptions of "old" and "new," by interweaving pre and post-apocalyptic story lines. Characters find tabloids in abandoned houses, a museum of the past inside an airport, and roam desolate landscapes with modern day artillery in hand, to name a few. What do you think the reader will gain through these juxtapositions?

I think there's an interesting tension in the juxtaposition of old and new, which probably accounts for the continued popularity of steampunk. In a way, the tabloids in abandoned houses are a physical reflection of the current digital age. Everything you say on the Internet is there forever. In Station Eleven, twenty years after the collapse of civilization it's still possible to read celebrity gossip.

An important destination for characters trekking through the post-apocalyptic world of Station Eleven is the Museum of Civilization, a place where travelers leave behind objects that remind them of the world that once was, a place that seems to span the gap between past, present, and future. Characters who lived before the downfall value the museum for its ability to serve as a memorial of the past for generations to come. Why do you think it is important to memorialize the past, and how do you think doing so will inform our future?

The past is context for the present, isn't it? I think having a sense of history is important, in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes. As a species, it seems to be important to us to hold on to the past: witness the wild popularity of sites like ancestry.com, where people sign up and pay membership fees and spend hours engaged in genealogical research to discover where they came from. In the context of this book, the Museum functions as a repository for artifacts of a lost world—after the lights go out, you've got to put your dead iPad somewhere—and a place where people can come together to remember and study the past. There's a sadness to it, because the objects collected there are from an age of expansion and technological innovation that's unlikely to come again, at least in these characters' lifetimes. And of course, for the survivors of a pandemic with a 99% mortality rate, the technology is the least of what they've lost, so it's also a place for collective mourning.

What do you most want readers to take away from Station Eleven?

I didn't write the book with a message in mind, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to see the book as a suggestion that perhaps we could all stand to be a little more mindful of the fragility of civilization, and perhaps slightly more appreciative of the technological marvels that surround us. Isn't it wonderful to have electricity? It's something I very much appreciate, personally.

Who have you discovered lately?

I'm reading a manuscript of a new novel by Peter Geye, whose most recent book was The Lighthouse Road. I've only met Peter a couple of times in person, but we have a fantastic working arrangement where we read and give notes on one another's drafts. His notes are always absolutely superb. I loved The Lighthouse Road, and his new novel is going to be even better.

I discovered a brilliant author a couple of months back. Her name's Elena Mauli Shapiro, and her second novel, In The Red, is coming out in October. It's an incredible story about crime, love, and morality, and it's one of the best books I've read in years. I want to read everything she writes.

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Station Eleven: A novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 115 reviews.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
There has been a lot of "buzz" surrounding Emily St. John Mandel's contribution to the post-apocalyptic genre, Station Eleven, which was selected as one of Amazon's best books of the month for September. While I'm not sure that all the hype is quite justified, I did enjoy Mandel's writing and her fresh approach. Rather than placing her primary focus on the horrors and challenges of survival in a world decimated by the "Georgia flu," Mandel clearly believes the motto she gives her Traveling Symphony: "Survival is insufficient." The main characters in Station Eleven are not ex-military hardasses, as is so often the case in this genre; they are actors, musicians, and artists who believe that the fine arts are essential to our human identity, a sentiment with which I heartily agree. Mandel conveys this feeling not only through the actions and dialogue of her characters, but also by following key relics of the pre-apocalypse world (a paperweight, a comic book) as they pass through various hands, connecting lives in sometimes unexpected ways. We have here, not six degrees of Kevin Bacon, but six degrees of "Station Eleven," the comic book from which the novel draws its title. Strangely enough, Station Eleven's strength is also its main weakness. Mandel gives short shrift to her characters' survival narratives. Survival may be insufficient, but it is nevertheless essential. Kirsten Raymonde, the child actor who subsequently joins the Traveling Symphony in its Shakespeare productions, doesn't remember her first year as a survivor, presumably because it was too traumatic. Although I didn't need the gory details, I did feel as though her amnesia left a gaping hole as I reached the end of the book. This quibble aside, Station Eleven is a moving and surprisingly hopeful addition to the literature of the post-apocalypse. I received a free copy of Station Eleven through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love literary fiction you'll love this. If you are not a fan of science fiction or dystopian fiction...well, read this anyway. It's all about character, time, and place. You'll love it and expand your horizons. Trust me!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a sucker for the recent flood of apocalyptic tales, and this was one of the best stories I've read in a long time. It was less about the collapse of civilization and more about the characters experiences, but the story provided enough details of the events to be satisfying. I did not want the story to end, and yet I could not put the book down. I would recommend this to anyone who likes to read!
LongTimeFanNY More than 1 year ago
A good read. More a series of interwoven stories than a traditional novel. The stories/storylines influence each other, some directly, others indirectly. Past and present are presented in no particular order. This flipping back and forth between the times before and after the apocalyptic event emphasizes the order within chaos concept that is center to the overall story and drives home the fragile, transitory nature of life and all we take for granted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful! Emily is such a gifted writer. Engaging and beautifully written, STATION ELEVEN has something for everyone-a little sci-fi, dystopia, heartache and survival. I will recommend this book to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though i am only 13 years of age (About to be 14), i would highly reccomend this book. This book is appropriate for ages 15 and up. Though there are some obscenities and graphic violence, this book will open your eyes to a whole new world of literacy. The author is honetly a genius, this peice of writing is absolutely preciously valuable.
Artistwriter More than 1 year ago
Not entirely what I expected, the novel has many more layers and depth to it. This is a story for those who appreciate character development as opposed to violence and clichés.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderfully composed sci-fi story about how civilization in general and both decent and not so decent individuals fare when civilization as we know it collapses suddenly due to a worldwide calamity. Endlessly interesting. Satisfying how all the main characters eventually interact with each other either directly or indirectly. Brilliantly composed without a wasted word. Lots of action too, but the human relationships , and how people are shaped and changed by adversity very much intrigued me. People reacting under pressure. Moments of tragedy and humor with lots of action as civilization suddenly collapses. A must read for sci-fi fans!
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
There is an expectation among those who research such things, that the end of world, as it presently stands, will not occur due to a war fought over oil, religion or politics. Its final gasp will not be due to nuclear fallout or global warming.  The end will come because of a natural occurring virus against which 99.99% of humanity has no resistance. That is the premise upon which Ms. Mandel launches what has all the markings of a remarkable trilogy.  How humanity was whittled down to potentially extinction levels is of less importance in this story than how those who lived respond to being survivors of a sparsely populated world. The book opens with a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear at Toronto’s Elgin Theater. The death of the lead actor, Jeeven Chaudhary, star of stage and screen, from a heart attack during Act IV, is a death unrelated to the pandemic but it does set the tone for what will happen after the devastation the flu strain will bring is complete.  This flu is so contagious, incubates so quickly and is so deadly that humanity has no chance of responding; Shakespeare is timeless & humanity has been responding to his works for centuries. One of the book’s over-arching themes highlights the difference from the “temporary” from the “transcendent.” Kristen Raymonde is an 8-year-old bit player on stage when “King Lear” has his heart attack. In “Year 15,” as time is now measured, she is a member of a traveling Symphony and Shakespeare company. “Cities” are made up of groups of more than 100 and are typically centered around buildings constructed to serve people – former gas stations, fast food restaurants and big box stores. Houses, for reason’s unclear are shunned and allowed to dilapidate after being repeatedly searched. Everyone who survived Year One is leery, paranoid and guarded. As the troupe is on constant tour, they see the stagnation of humanity and are on constant alert for fear of a reoccurrence of “what happened.” In response to what she sees Kristen ponders if, perhaps, “humanity should pass from existence.” At each stop, the Company performs - music one night, Shakespeare the next. The story is told in flashbacks each “visit to before” sheds light on how those still living came to react as they do, how seeming disparate events and elements were not as random as they first seem, everything and everyone is connected to the present. Life is reduced to its basics – food, water, shelter, community. One goes to bed at dark and rises with the sun. Questions so important when “everything worked” are revealed to be empty, replaced by deeper ponderings of faith, power, beauty and trust. The survivors are no longer connected to possessions, having learned to treasure what is of real value. Religion is still alive in this new age, as is the genuine faith sometimes found in its practitioners. What is more often the case, however, in this tale of warning, is one’s “religion” gives credence to delusion. Prophets abound, their followers seeming to find safety in following the words of one who “hears the voice of god” and will obey what this prophet says, even if it means violating every moral and value they possess. The book ends with many questions answered and new paths discovered.  The “end” did not feel like a conclusion, Kristen’s angst was confronted with hope.  I would like for this journey to continue, but if Ms. Mandel brought her readers to the intended place of parting, it is a good spot to rest.  
Drewano More than 1 year ago
I’m a huge fan of the post-apocalyptic genre and I’ve read tons of books but none like “Station Eleven” and I guess that’s because I would say that it doesn’t fall into this genre.  Oh don’t get me wrong it take place just before and after the Georgia Flu has killed 99% of the world’s population, but it’s not about that at all.  Some books take you thought the collapse of civilization some only show the aftermath but this book takes you right through it but it completely glosses over it.  One character rides it out his brother’s apartment one in an airport but the author keeps us confined in these areas.  When people do leave we only hear what they say when they come back and don’t get to see what goes on for ourselves.  Even the news reports the reader hears are broad generalizations.  This book is all about the characters, their interactions with each other, how their lives intertwine and their actions and regrets in this fleeting world.   It’s was written and thought provoking and sometimes frustrating (the biggest example is the lack of discussion of the evolution of The Prophet being huge missed opportunity) but overall a great example of modern literary fiction.
karatepen More than 1 year ago
This is brilliantly constructed novel with great complexity of characters and time lines. St. John Mandel intertwines her characters and time with ease flow and great love for the integrity and ambition of the theme she tackles. I was intrigued by the characters plot and had trouble getting emotionally involved.This is a novel of desperation,trust and hope in relationships that help all of us survive in different levels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am only 200 pages into this book but I can already tell I'm going to be sad when it ends. The author has masterfully created a post civilization world that forces the reader to examine their current life and wonder what it would be like to live without the luxuries we have come to expect. This book isn't gross or creepy just a wonderfully organized plot that keeps you hooked. I can't wait to see where it goes but I also never want it to end. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A key quote from Star Trek in this beautifully written and more upbeat post-apocalyptic novel. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My previous review indicating this was drivel was premature. After the first 50 pages the sgiry picks up and the writing also improves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is a fine line between hoe and despair in post apocalyptic noves and she threads that path perfectly. So much that it makes you think...if the worlrd were to end next week : would you be happy witj your life?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book! So fantastic and beautifully written!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I HAD TO READ IT FOR CLUB. WHAT A STRUGGLE.
Haziegaze More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to reading this. I have heard and read rave reviews about how fantastic it is so was chuffed to bits when I was provided with a copy from Netgalley via the publisher, Picador, and I settled down to read. What can I say? Is there something wrong with me? I just didn't get it. I don’t know why but it just didn't grab me at all and, I'm sorry to say, I found it boring so much so that I skim read parts just to get it over with a bit quicker. I recognise when I am not enjoying a book because I find myself subconsciously finding other things to do rather than read and I did this quite a lot whilst trudging through this book. The characters, although well written were just not that interesting and I found myself not caring what happened or happens to them. I found the whole thing a mix of different stories which was confusing and just didn't seem cohesive.  Maybe it was partly because it was told from different points of view with no central character. Maybe it was the Shakespeare - I'm not a huge fan.  Maybe it was a bit too “deep” for me … I'm a simple person who reads purely for enjoyment and I don’t want to have to think too hard to find complex meaning … my job is taxing enough on my brain, I don’t want it to be overworked! This book received so much hype that I think it raised my expectations and I was just left feeling flat and unconvinced and actually rather sad. I even left it a few days before writing this review because sometimes if I give it a few days to reflect on what I've read, it sometimes helps but unfortunately not in this case - it just didn't do it for me at all. I realise that I am in a minority here and there are loads of people who love this book so I suggest you give it a go and make your own mind up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished this. It was good, but confusing at times. Don't really like the back and forth. Really makes you think about the little everyday items you would lose and what could become important. Is remembering important? This could apply today. I would probably read this author again.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Took a bit to understand the connections and relationships, but liked how they crossed each other. Different take on the new world after the Apocalypse, didn’t ignore there had been horrors, but didn’t live in them either.
commandereagle2 More than 1 year ago
This was a fast engrossing read featuring multiple, subtly intertwined characters that are developed non-chronologically around the outbreak of an apocalyptic flu outbreak. I loved how the non-linear storytelling of this book would set up mysteries and then (usually) answer them during an unexpected moment, often at a completely different time and place. It forces the reader to pay attention to key details in order to best appreciate the interconnectedness of the events on the page. Good characters, good emotional impact.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Complex story, tied up nicely.
JerseyBoy More than 1 year ago
Based on the editorial reviews, I was anxious to read the book. In my opinion the book was overhyped for my taste. It was good but not as captivating as many suggest. If I had checked this book out of the library rather than purchased it, I probably would have returned it to the library before I finished reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Station Eleven is a very well written novel that stays with you long after you've finished it. It is haunting and painful to read, but it is also a worthwhile study of humanity in the face of absolute tragedy.
tommygrrl723 More than 1 year ago
Good, thought provoking concept for a book, the characters were (for the most part) likeable and interesting. There were, however, times when the book was hard to get through, and I was disappointed with the swiftness in the climax of the storyline, followed by the somewhat drawn out ending that didn't add much to the story, and didn't give a good explanation for foreseeable future to the characters. Still, an overall good read.