Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel


Do you know this situation - you heard about a book, add it to your wish list, but somehow it last month until you buy it and even longer until you start reading it. Until then you hardly remember the plot. You just remember that you read good reviews and wanted that book. And then you start reading and you think, wow, I somehow expected something else.


This was it for me with this book. I only remembered the good thinks a heard about it and that it was a dystopia. I am not very much into dystopias. But when I reread the reviews and took a closer look at the blurb I asked myself why exactly I wanted that book so much. But I was willing to give it a try. I am glad I did.


“Station Eleven” is a kind of dystopia. A mysterious virus kills 90% of all people within a couple of weeks. 24 hours after the first deaths civilization as we know it collapses. The narration jumps between different people and the time before and after the “Day One”. The book starts with the dead of an actor on staged while performing Kind Lear in Toronto. He has a heart attack. A man from the audience tries to save his life. A child actress witnesses it all. Her name is Miranda and she is one of those who will survive the virus. She will leave Toronto with her brother and after his death ( an infection which could not be treated without meds) she joins The Travelling Symphony.

The Travelling Symphony is an extraordinary thing. It’s a group of people, travelling through a part of America and bringing music and Shakespears plays to the places where the survivors gather now. I loved The Travelling Symphony. And I loved the Station Eleven comics. That’s what Station Eleven is, not an actually existing station, it is a comic, the first ex-wife of Arthur, the actor who died on stage, painted over many years without releasing it.


The story, so strange it appeared to me at the beginning, soon cast a spell over me. I was captivated by the live after the virus, who the people after 20 years still thought about the things they had and how they tell their afterborn children about it. The author writes absolutely beautiful. I loved the idea of the comic of Station Eleven, I loved how all the narrators where connected and some of them even meeting again after 20 years.


“Station Eleven” is hauntingly beautiful, nostalgic, sad, dark and as well optimistic. I enjoyed it very much.