Review of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Published: 10th September 2014
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 384


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’.


Thank you to Picador for kindly sending me a copy. Sam Eades has been non-stop about this book for the past couple of months. Near enough every single day, she’d write a tweet about it and quickly, a craze began. I was very intrigued about the book as it’s spoken about a lot but also, I’ve never read anything by the author before so for me, it was entering a whole new world and that’s exactly what the book felt like.

The narrative opens in a theatre. In true acting form, it’s very dramatic especially when something happens to Arthur Leander. Jeevan, a paramedic in training comes to his rescue and soon enough, the incident is all over the news. But that’s not the only topic of discussion for that evening. A deadly flu is floating around America and before it’s too late, people have got to leave the city and save themselves. I was drawn into the plot very quickly and it reminded me a lot of The Road by Cormac McCarthy – a book which I absolutely adored during my Film Studies degree.

As well as Arthur and Jeevan, we hear from four other characters and within chapters, we learn of their lives and how time has changed between the night at the theatre and the year of no electricity. Emily has cleverly wrapped each character together – there is an event or another person who brings them together and I really liked that aspect.

In my honest opinion, this is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. It ought to win an Book Oscar, if those exist. It’s the kind of book which you have to read for yourself to understand how powerful and highly descriptive it is. I now fully understand why Sam Eades has been going absolutely mental for this book.

Twitter: @EmilyMandel
Website: www.emilymandel.com


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