Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Book review)

Station Eleven

It’s twenty years after the world has been ravaged and destroyed by a deadly flu that wiped out a majority of Earth’s population, leaving it in ruins. Technology is gone, vehicles are useless husks littering the overgrown roadways and living is a daily struggle. I love a good dystopian, post apocalyptic tale whether it contains zombies, vampires, humans monsters, clickers – it’s all good and that is the genre that I am into now hence reading Crossed graphic novels, Bird Box, this book and I will starting The Girl With All The Gifts soon.

Station Eleven is a combination of before and after a global pandemic throws the world into a dystopian wasteland and told through the lives of a group of people who are knowingly and unknowingly connected by an actor who dies at the start of the outbreak, Arthur Leander. Kirsten seems to kind of be the lead but the story is told through several perspectives. I started reading this book and it was ok but near the beginning when The Symphony is being introduced (this is a band of performers who play instruments and perform Shakespeare) there are a couple of paragraphs that are just rambling run-on sentences.  No coherence just babbling. It was almost enough to make me put the book down. But I didn’t and that sort of bad writing didn’t come up again.  Maybe I was just tired and didn’t read that right but it was very poorly done.

All in all the book was ok after the first 50 or so pages. I was more interested in how the characters dealt with the plague and the recent aftermath than reading about their lives 5, 10 or 20 years before the plague. I understand it’s to develop the characters and show the tie ins to each other but some of it was unnecessarily long and could have been shortened. I didn’t like multiple chapters telling the story of Arthur and his first wife and how Station Eleven was created. It was necessary to tell where Station Eleven came from but it could have been condensed without losing anything. And I think I failed to see the need for the part where Arthur’s pen-pal V publishes his letters to her. Not sure what that brought to the story.

Final Thoughts:  I read reviews of this book on Goodreads and was expecting something more but it kind of fell flat for me. The story jumps to before and after with minimal glimpses of during the outbreak and what they needed to do to survive over the years. Glimpses like the knife tattoos on Kirsten wrist are just a couple of quick paragraphs. I think this would have been more interesting (to me) if the story had more focus on a couple of characters and their journey over the 20 years from outbreak to the current timeline. The writing was good, for the most part, but the book left me wanting more. I rated this one a 3/5 because it’s not bad, I liked parts of it but when the big confrontations occur it’s so brief and kind of a let down.

Stylized D

 

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