Station Eleven

Station Eleven

Book - 2014
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2014 National Book Award Finalist

A New York Times Bestseller

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding 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 Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear . Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385353304
0385353308
Branch Call Number: MANDEL E
Characteristics: 333 pages ; 22 cm

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From Library Staff

Comment
LPL_SarahM Nov 29, 2020

Currently living through a pandemic has given me some insight that I wouldn't have had if I'd read this book when it initially came out. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing but it did make me shake my head in frustration when, in the first couple of chapters, one of the characters goes to... Read More »

"One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's c... Read More »

Comment
LPL_DirectorBrad Dec 08, 2014

What a great book! An exquisitely written meditation on life after the collapse of modern civilization.

This smash-hit read of 2014 follows a roaming theater troupe near the Great Lakes. The nature of art, beauty, and survival all play out delicately in a world that has seemingly ended.

Two people have brought up this book to me in the past week. That can't be a coincidence!


From the critics


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c
celiawhite99
Apr 12, 2021

Hard to follow at first but got interesting later on-about the world after a pandemic

CMLibrary_DJeffrey Apr 08, 2021

PLAGUE BOOK.

s
swethau
Mar 19, 2021

Station Eleven is a novel written by Emily St.John Mandel that talks about the cause and impact of the Georgia Flu pandemic, which kills most of the population. It explores the lives of many characters that were affected, and describes their connection to the pandemic and how it has impacted their mindset/lives. The way that each chapter overlaps with other chapters makes the book extremely riveting and thrilling the read, as you continuously want to keep reading and find out what has happened to each character. Reading this during the current pandemic was very unsettling, as station eleven( a fiction book) has many similarities that overlap with the covid 19 pandemic such as the way it was handled and the new leaders of power that emerged from them. Although some chapters dragged a little bit, it picked up later in the book. I strongly recommend this\book to anyone as they can make connections and analyze how it relates to our current time period.

Age 13+

Distressing to read during the pandemic; to compare what went wrong in that scenario ( the core of society did not hold) and think about what can still go wrong today.
I don't know if there was an artistic advantage to that bouncing back and forth in time, if found that confusing. Nevertheless the story line and the characters are engrossing and I could not put the book down.
Society collapsed because that virus moved so fast. Will the new COVID mutations strike humanity at a speed which we can no longer cope with?

l
laphampeak
Jan 21, 2021

Mandel brilliantly tells a story of a group of Shakespearian actors who each have their own personal biography. The book switches between before and after a deadly flu pandemic and what transpires in the future world without any form of life as it was. The next generation knows little of the past world and its technology. It read a little like "The Road" and had a character like Warren Jeffs. Madel wove in and out of various scenarios without losing the reader and bringing a large spans of time and events to a glorious conclusion.

a
AnnSkye
Dec 30, 2020

Reading this novel in the midst of the covid 19 pandemic was a little unsettling but I couldn’t put it down. Definitely worth a read.

a
Aashirya
Dec 28, 2020

Station Eleven is a dystopian novel about a time during and after the Georgia
Flu, which was a large epidemic that took out most of the civilizations around the
world. It takes place in flashbacks both before the plague, in a pre-apocalyptic
setting, and in a post-apocalyptic setting, in which the characters have to survive in
the remains of the world. I really enjoyed this book, because the plague seems
similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the current COVID-19 pandemic is
nowhere as deadly as the plague in the novel. I would definitely recommend this
novel to others, as it is very interesting and a fun read.

n
nancylhenderson
Dec 26, 2020

"Station Eleven" is riveting and a bit terrifying in a way no supernatural thriller could be. I highly reccommend this book. Knowing that it was published in 2014 makes it all the more eerie.

m
mishraneetika
Dec 12, 2020

"Station 11" by Emily St. John Mandel is a book written about the impacts on the world by a pandemic, similar to the one we are currently experiencing in 2020. In the book, a disease called the Georgian Flu spreads from people to people and eventually leads to a point where civilization falls. The author writes from many different perspectives from before and after the pandemic, through characters such as Miranda, Arthur, Jeevan, and Kirsten. Miranda and Arthur are used to show "normal life" before the pandemic, Jeevan experiences the start of the pandemic and watches civilization fall, and Kirsten is from the future showing the impacts the pandemic had on the word. I think this book is a great read and definitely gives us perspective on the coronavirus pandemic that the world is going through right now.

l
LadyDi52
Dec 10, 2020

The time line jumped around all over the place, so it was difficult to keep track of who was where, when. Way too much about the actor who dies in the first chapter, an egotistical womanizer, whose ex-wives feature prominently in the plot. Other than that, a compelling read, I was looking for similarities to what we are going through now with the Covid pandemic.

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Quotes

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Dr. Eleven: "What was it like for you, at the end?"
Captain Lonagan: "It was exactly like waking up from a dream."

t
Tjad2LT
Jul 13, 2017

"[...] everyone knows when you've got a terrible marriage, it's like having bad breath, you get close enough to a person and it's obvious."

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“She was thinking about the way she’d always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place, the dial turned just one or two degrees.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“They spend all their lives waiting for their lives to begin.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“It was gorgeous and claustrophobic. I loved it and I always wanted to escape.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“She had never entirely let go of the notion that if she reached far enough with her thoughts she might find someone waiting, that if two people were to cast their thoughts outward at the same moment they might somehow meet in the middle.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“No one ever thinks they’re awful, even people who really actually are. It’s some sort of survival mechanism.”

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Age

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d
dstradling
Jan 11, 2021

dstradling thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

f
frenchhornistba
Apr 13, 2020

frenchhornistba thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

f
FaithR
Feb 03, 2019

FaithR thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

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melwyk Sep 25, 2014

One snowy night in Toronto, an actor playing King Lear drops dead on stage. Only 24 hours later, most of the city is dead from a rapidly spreading virus. The few survivors find, as the electricity and water stop, as the internet drops out, that the virus has killed 99% of the world's population.

The question arises: how to live now? In Emily St John Mandel's unusual approach to a post-apocalyptic novel, the survivors of this modern plague retain their longing for community and civilization, trying their best to live in pockets of humanity across North America.

Early on, we meet the Travelling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors who travel caravan-style around the countryside, performing Shakespeare and symphonies to the scattered inhabitants of tiny settlements. As Kirsten, a main character, has tattooed on her arm: Survival is insufficient.

However, this symphony is also heavily armed, as chaos does exist in the new world. There are those in this rough life who rely on violence, including an eerie Prophet who controls a town the Travelling Symphony rolls into at the start of the story. This Prophet and his followers will pursue them for the rest of the book, adding an edge of suspense.

The story weaves back and forth from apocalyptic present to the past, revealing ways in which all the characters are connected. The constant return to 'before' results in a sense of nostalgia for what we haven't yet lost. Mandel points out precious elements of daily life that her characters have lost forever – the taste of an orange, the feel of air conditioning, ice cream, the ability to connect with one another by phone.

Throughout the book we also encounter Dr. Eleven, a scientist in a graphic novel that Kirsten has carried with her over the many years of post-apocalyptic life. The two volumes she owns of this tiny graphic novel sustain her. Dr. Eleven lives on a satellite, Station Eleven, after the earth is destroyed, and his story reflects her own. This imaginary graphic novel is fleshed out so wonderfully that I hope it is only a matter of time before Mandel releases a real-life edition.

This is a beautiful book; imaginative and full of complex characters, it is a post-apocalyptic novel that combines danger with beauty, sadness with hope. Mandel clearly believes that there is something good in humanity that will endure.

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