Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:
Set in the days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the 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.
For many, this is not the moment to pick up a book about the devastation left after a flu pandemic. But I've noticed some actually enjoy reading these types of tales amid our current COVID-19 pandemic. Is it soothing somehow? Or do they enjoy it like a horror story (one that seems more realistic by the day)? I don't know, but this a great novel. If you'll find comfort in reading a worst-case scenario, this delivers. But those overwhelmed by the current crisis should definitely wait awhile to give it a read.

I really enjoyed this book, despite the dark subject matter. For a book that roams a post-apocalyptic landscape, it never mires you down in grief and despair (keeping in mind these were my thoughts when I read Station Eleven long BEFORE the current crisis). To an extent, that makes it much less realistic – the act of finding what you need to survive in such a world would be even more desperate than depicted here, I think.

Yet that's what allowed me to enjoy reading this book and learning the characters' stories – I wasn't beaten down with abject misery at every step. Not to say it isn't a harsh world where people have all gone through hell, but it's not written in a way that crushes you with this knowledge.

What you get is an interesting tale and some food for thought about a not-at-all impossible "what if" situation, written in a way that will keep you engaged. You won't want to put this one down until the end!

Note: I read this book in 2015, when I reviewed it for Goodreads but failed to post it to my blog. I'm belatedly adding my review of this wonderful book here, with an update relating to the current pandemic.

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