Station Eleven by Emily Mandel
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Dystopic, Apocalyptic
Publisher: Pan Macmillan / Picador
Hardcover: 352 pages
My Rating: 4 out of 5
DAY ONE : The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
WEEK TWO : Civilization has crumbled.
YEAR TWENTY : A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
STATION ELEVEN Moving backwards and forwards in time, from the glittering years just before the collapse to the strange and altered world that exists twenty years after, Station Eleven charts the unexpected twists of fate that connect six people: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan - warned about the flu just in time; Arthur's first wife Miranda; Arthur's oldest friend Clark; Kirsten, a young actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed 'prophet'.
Thrilling, unique and deeply moving, this is a beautiful novel that asks questions about art and fame and about the relationships that sustain us through anything - even the end of the world.
At the centre of Station Eleven is the famous actor Arthur Leander who dies on stage during a production of King Lear. Within hours of his unexplained death Georgia Flu hits with devastating effect, mercilessly killing 99% of the world's population.
Leap forward 20 years and life has come to resemble something like the tales of Chaucer, with a traveling troupe of musicians and actors performing Shakespearian plays to the townspeople they meet along the way. In this new age life is in stark contrast to the pre apocalyptic world. Distrust, and the threat of violence from those they encounter is an every day occurrence. If they are to survive, keeping their wits about them is imperative.
Station Eleven leaps back and forth in time and gives an in-depth recounting of the characters lives, and how they or historical artefacts are all interconnected from each timeframe.
Each character was fully fleshed out and believable. I don't think I had a favourite but I was drawn to Miranda, and in particular her relationship with Arthur.
I absolutely loved the way the story unfolded. It is a beautifully written novel and I was pretty disappointed when it came to its end.
Station Eleven is a first rate apocalyptic, dystopic, sci-fi tale. A delightful read which I highly recommend.
Thank you to the publisher via NetGalley for the opportunity to review this title. I am looking forward to recommending Station Eleven to our Waterstones customers.