Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Station Eleven; Emily St. John Mandel


Station Eleven; Emily St. John Mandel
 Random House Audio

I tend to shy away from dystopian / post apocalyptic stories, it's just not my thing, but this book has been receiving such favorable reviews that I wanted to give it a try. The audio book, read by Kirsten Potter is so well done and easy to follow.

The story opens with a well know actor performing King Lear on stage.  The actor, Arthur Leander is stricken with a heart attack on stage. An EMT in the audience, Jeevan Chaudhary jumps to his aid to perform CPR, but is unable to save him.  Although the curtains close while this is happening, a young eight year old actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror.

In another part of the town at the exact same time people are dying of an unusual flu outbreak. Before too long, 99% of the population had died off. Meanwhile, Jeevan and his brother are holed up an apartment, hoping to steer clear of the virus.

Fast forward fifteen years and the child actress Kirsten, now a young woman is performing with a Traveling Symphony. The group travels to various locals to perform for some individuals have managed to survive the pandemic. In one particular village they cross paths with a violent prophet who believes the pandemic was a sort of cleansing, and that he and his followers are the light of what is left of the old world.

The story moves back and forth in time, describing life before and after the outbreak. The author shines in her descriptiveness of the characters and the events which have occurred, and the overall feeling is mostly optimistic. It's a story about the relationships that keep us going when all seems lost. Station Eleven gives readers plenty to think about.  I'm happy I gave this one a try.

4/5 stars
(audio book)

32 comments:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I loved it so much. It was one of my favorites of last year.

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  2. I enjoyed listening to this one and I think that the author and the narrator did a great job, but I'm still not a convert to routine dystopian fiction :)

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  3. This is not really like most dystopian or post apocalyptic fiction. In fact, I think that's why it got a wider audience!

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    1. Yes, I agree and know I would tend to choose more in that genre if they were similar to this.

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  4. I cannot wait to read this one. I am a big fan of this author and have enjoyed her works. I should get hold of this soon.

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    1. I need to read the 2 other books I have on my shelf by this author.

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  5. I read this last week and am surprised at how much I liked it... not my usual type of book at all.

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  6. I felt it was very different from the other post-apocalyptic novels I've read. It did seem very hopeful, as if all the characters knew at some point that things would return to normal eventually. That airport scene...chilling and the museum of gadgets. Wow.

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    1. The airport scene was so well drawn -- loved that part.

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  7. I've stayed away from this one because dystopia's not my thing either. I'm beginning to think I need to give it a try.

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    1. Try it Kathy, like me, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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  8. Sometimes I'm so glad when I venture outside I my normal reading habits. This one rose above genre stereotypes and I just loved it!

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  9. I have been hearing wonderful things about this one, Diane, and I really want to read it. I've enjoyed her other books, and know I like her writing.

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    1. I hope you get a chance to try this one Wendy. I want to read her other books now.

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  10. I'm not drawn to the genre but I liked your review enough to keep this book in mind if I decide I'm in the mood to try it.

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    1. Try the audio Mary, I think you will be pleased and it;s easy to follow on audio as well.

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  11. Like the rest of the world, I loved this one! And, like you, I'm not normally into post apocalyptic fiction. This one was somewhat realistic, which I liked.

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    1. Yes, it was more realistic -- hey the flu outbreak is a very real scenario these days.

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  12. I really liked this. I read it earlier this month and started the year off well!

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    1. Glad you were another reader who had a positive experience with this book.

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  13. Dystopian is really not my thing, but this one does sound interesting.

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    1. See, that is what I said as well initially Diana -- try it.

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  14. I just finished it and really liked it!

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  15. I've been reading lots of positive things about this book and it's been on my list for a while. Your review makes me want to put it higher up the list. A timely reminder to read it. Thanks.

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    1. Emma, I hope you'll get to try it and that you'll enjoy it as I did.

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  16. GIad to see you enjoyed it. I'm biased as I generally like dystopian, but this was exceptionally well-done and made my 2014 favorites. It was a plus that the author stayed away from the overdone zombies, vampires, and violence.

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  17. I'm not a huge dystopian/post apocalyptic fan either but I've added this one to my wish list because of all the great buzz.Glad it worked you. Gives me hope for me :)

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  18. Got this one for Christmas and I can't wait to read it!

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  19. I love this genre and am so eager to read this book. I have it on my Nano, but I'm torn. I may want to wait and read the print edition instead.

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