Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel 

Date Completed: 5/23/2017

Rating: 10/10

This was an awesome book to listen to. Mandel has an excellent handle on storytelling, flowing with ease and precision between characters and time frames. She follows each character through time in a way that gives the timeline a trajectory but doesn’t more the story down in forward progression. I enjoyed the differing formatting, from narrative to conversational to transcription and more. She tells the story from multiple POV’s, a tactic that worked well for her. 

In case you don’t know the premise, Station Eleven is post-apocalyptic. A virus spreads world-wide and wipes out the bulk of the human population, rendering civilization void and reverting humans back to a more basic lifestyle of bartering and survival. The story follows a traveling symphony and connects characters together both before and after the virus. 

Each character had worth, although not each character ends up alive. Mandel did justice to each characters story, following them through time and each character’s own important moments in life. I liked that all the characters were connected to each other without being banded together as they often are in action stories. 

This story has a character for almost every person to relate to, I believe. I connected most with Kiersten, the young girl who travels with the symphony and is an actor, who remembers some of the past but mostly lives in her version of the present. She is whimsical when she raids abandoned houses, seeking costumes for her acting, but she is also realistic in her survival skills and her interactions with people. The cast of characters covers a wide range of people, ages, and life sages considering Mandel only focuses on five or six characters. 

I appreciated also that the characters were more self-aware in this novel. Sometimes in post-apocalyptic stories, you find that characters were unaware that the apocalypse was coming. However, these characters openly discuss the books and shows they read about before their own apocalypse and how that influenced their understanding and decision-making process during the collapse of civilization as they knew it. 

I would definitely read more of her books! 

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