Station Eleven Review

  • Author: Emily St. John Mandel
  • Series: Standalone
  • No. of pages: 339
  • Dates read: 08.08.20 – 13.08.20
  • Star Rating: 3

Plot: Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the 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 a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

This book gives me mixed feelings.

While I don’t think you need to understand the deep-rooted messages behind books to enjoy them I felt I needed to know the message behind this book as this book left me confused! I don’t read many books where the main focus is just on the characters and there’s no strong plot so maybe this is why I am struggling to grasp things here but I felt this book was missing something.

I felt I was grasping at straws trying to find the meaning/message behind this book, what kind of story was Mandel trying to tell? I don’t know whether there genuinely isn’t one or I’m just not smart enough to figure it out.

Overall this was a fine book for me. I wasn’t blown away by it.

I thought the writing was beautiful and poetic and really captured the heartbreak and devastation of both the apocalypse and what came before it.

I really enjoyed the multiple POVs in this book, I loved getting to know these characters and I felt it helped the writing and pace to flick between different stories. I personally preferred the sections which focussed on before or just after the flu hit rather than the parts set in the present day. They were personally more engaging.

But at times the writing, while poetic, was also incredibly slow-paced and I struggled at times to get through it. But the main thing that made me struggle is that I don’t know what this story was about. Was it about the legacy you leave behind? Or is it just all about connections? What was the importance of Arthur? I am not sure and I think the not knowing really hindered my read of the story as I was getting frustrated of why are we here? why these characters?

Maybe I’m just too literal in my reading to understand.

I don’t have any strong thoughts for against this book. It was just fine for me. So it’s a very short review this week.

The next book I will be reviewing is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.

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