Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Genre: Literary Fiction, Dystopian
This story begins with a play. Hollywood star Arthur Leander is starring as King Lear when he has a heart attack on stage, with child actress Kirsten Raymonde looking on. As Jeevan Chaudhary is walking home from the theatre, news begins to spread about a flu spreading quickly and killing fast.
Station Eleven jumps back and forward in time, following Arthur as he falls in and out of love, Jeevan as the world begins to fall apart with the flu outbreak and Kirsten, 15 years after the outbreak, an actress with the Travelling Symphony.
I completely fell in love with Emily St. John Mandel’s writing throughout this novel. I can’t put my finger on exactly what makes it so good and I think that’s the sign of truly great writing! She told the story wonderfully, and I loved all the different points of view, although my favourite chapters were Kristen’s. There’s just something so enjoyable reading about the almost whimsical idea of a travelling Shakespeare troop contrasting with the bleak world following the flu.
It did take me a few chapters to get into the time jumps in this novel. The pre-‘event’ chapters initial felt a bit jarring vs the dystopian world following the flu. But the stories do come together to great a wonderful story of people.
I highly recommend checking this book out. I’ll definitely be trying some more of Emily St. John Mandel’s work.