Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - Book Review

in #bookreview9 months ago (edited)

"Because survival is insufficient."

Let me be clear: this is a book about a pandemic, but it is so much more than that. Rightfully award-winning, Station Eleven strips down humanity to its barest bones at civilization's collapse, a woven back-and-forth that follows a handful of actors, artists, nomads, and survivors, whose pasts and fates are vaguely intertwined. Its cosmic pondering is quiet, its outlook dark, subtle, and conversely, filled with the hope that connects human beings to one another.

Moving across a span of 30 years, before and after the sudden arrival of the Georgia Flu, a quick and deadly pandemic, and the subsequent fallout, Station Eleven follows a strange cast: a Hollywood actor at the end of his prime, an enigmatic, nameless prophet, a trail of ex-wives and a forgotten son, a would-be paramedic, a child lacking a year's worth of memory, and a Traveling Symphony. These factors connect in ways previously unimagined and yet fit together easily and with a sense of vast rightness that does not overextend itself too far.

This is a hard book to describe. It is not a book for everyone, but for the right people, it is breathtaking. I found myself literally stopping to catch my breath as I read, unable to put the book down as I fell further into a wide world composed truly of very few people, in the grand scheme of things. Narrative webs connected, and I understood them with gratitude. The pacing, the language, the uniquely written characters, the swell of hope against reason in my chest as I read and re-read the last few pages all made this book what it was. And when it was over, I could not stop re-considering my own world, vast as I allow it to be.

If it hasn't been made obvious already, I highly recommend this book to those in possession of a creative soul and heart of depth, and to everyone else, I would recommend that you give it a shot anyway. You never know what you might find.

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