Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Station Eleven

It comes out of nowhere and takes the world by surprise, a new virus with a near-total mortality rate. What it does to humanity is devastating. What humanity does in its aftermath is fascinating.
In Station Eleven, watch the world through the eyes of people with connection to a single person: the world-famous Arthur Leland. Each has experiences that, when woven together, tell a fascinating, riveting story about hope and loss, love and fear.

This isn't a "science fiction" book beyond the idea that it's futuristic and involves the end of the world as we know it. It's the story of people trying to live in a world that is strange, cruel and beautiful. Emily St. John Mandel chooses an interesting, comprehensive cast of characters through which to see this new world, and it was amazing to watch the threads slowly create one of the most interesting, gorgeous designs I've seen in a while.

Much like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Mandel doesn’t try to tell the story of the plague on society beyond what the characters can tell us. I prefer it that way: the omnipotent narrator isn’t always welcome when a story can be told better in small ways. It’s the “a-ha” moments, the hints and ideas that slowly take shape, that are the strength of books told in such individualistic ways. I thought the connections wrought for the title were too thin, but it didn’t change the quality of the story or the value of the characters.

After you finish the book, be ready to spend an inordinate amount of time examining how you use the tools of your life and whether you could thrive in the post-flu world. And become determined that in the future, you will dedicate yourself to print media. Just sayin'.

This beats Alanis Morrisette's definition of irony: I read Station Eleven on my Kindle.

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