Reading Sara Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 2, 2015)

Reading Sara Rating: 7/10

modern romance

Reading Sara Review: So many people have recommended Station Eleven to me since it was released originally in 2014. I kept putting off reading it because I wasn’t sure it was going to appeal to me. A story about a group of people, post-apocalypse, who travel around and perform Shakespeare plays? Really?  If you have already read it, then you know how wrong I am. This book is more than science fiction, more than a post-apocalypse story, and is simply a good book.

I am glad that I finally got around to reading it – it’s an incredibly well-written story with many characters, exceptional depth, and more emotion than I could have imagined.

Station Eleven does revolve around a group called “the symphony” that travels to towns and settlements performing Shakespeare plays. There was a terrible disease outbreak that eliminated a vast majority of the world’s population (at least it wasn’t zombies). The book jumps in time, as the story centers around Arthur Leander, who was a famous actor and died suddenly of a heart attack while performing King Lear. The characters that we come to know all have a connection in some way to Arthur – and those connections are woven throughout the storyline.

The jumping around was hard to follow sometimes, and there were enough characters that I had to make an effort to remember who was who and who was where – but when everything came together at the end, it all made sense and was quite a surprise.

My favorite part of the story was following the survivor’s lives – how people survived, created communities, found a new role and purpose in their lives. But mainly how art is preserved after the fall of society – through storytelling, collections, and the performances that the symphony gave.

Station Eleven is not your average dystopian novel – it is so much more. So, if like me, you haven’t picked this one up yet, I recommend it. Many creative and beautiful books get picked up for a film adaptation, and this one is no exception. So, read it first!

“Survival is insufficient.” – Star Trek: Voyager



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