Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Station Eleven
Station Eleven opens just before a pandemic hits the earth, wiping out the majority of the human population. The majority of the story takes place post-pandemic, in a world without electricity, cell phones, and modern transportation, though the story does flash back to give the reader a glimpse of what happened in certain characters’ lives prior to and just after the pandemic. Having said that, it seems as though the book would be extremely depressing–but it’s not. The story focuses on small groups of people surviving in different ways, and their stories are surprisingly hopeful.

One of the main characters, Kirsten, is a young girl when the pandemic hits, and when the reader meets her again years later, she is performing with a traveling Shakespeare troupe whose motto is “because survival is insufficient.” Of course, the power vacuum created in such a world is bound to draw out bad actors, and Kirsten becomes the target of a self-designated “prophet” who uses terror tactics to gain and keep control over people. I won’t give away the ending, but it’s uplifting (for an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story). This is a fantastic book–a “Must Read!”

Read more reviews of Station Eleven.

Availability:  COSMOS, SMCM, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Kelly Smolinsky
Rating: Must Read

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