zondag 18 september 2016

Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven

Hi again

This is my review for Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2015.
I got my copy from Book Depository and it has 333 pages.

“An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding 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.
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.”

Mandel’s writing is great, it’s straightforward, it flows nicely and it’s easy to read.
There are some thought provoking moments and themes throughout the novel but I didn’t care for the religious aspects. They became tiresome very fast.

The idea of following a traveling theater company in a post-apocalyptic world is fantastic but aside from that, the story is pretty generic. The whole story would have been pretty much the same had it been a group of people just traveling around instead of performing Shakespeare.

The novel is constructed very well. It alternates between different time periods and different people to fully reflect the devastating effect of the Georgia Flu. I liked reading about the world before, during and after the outbreak to experience how it all changed; it gave a much more rounded view. It also makes it more personal and up-close to follow someone and watch them die.
Mandel wrote some pretty interesting characters and the story is very character driven but there are too many characters with barely any background. I didn’t care for most of them.

The book reads well and I liked it but it is a pretty typical and forgettable post-apocalyptic story.

3 STARS

Happy reading!
Helena