Station Eleven by Emily St. John MandelStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

byEmily St. John Mandel

Paperback | September 9, 2014

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An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, from the author of three highly acclaimed previous novels.

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 theatre troupe known as the Travelling 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. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, 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.

EMILY ST. JOHN MANDELwas born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia. She studied dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.Her previous novels areThe Lola Quartet, which was the #1 Indie Next pick for May 2012;Last Night in Montreal(a June 2009 Indie Next pick an...
Title:Station ElevenFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.88 inPublished:September 9, 2014Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443434868

ISBN - 13:9781443434867

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! This book was a big surprise, though it would be good but not as much. I really appreciate the angle it use about a distopian futur. Would recommend it.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a Great Read! I loved this book so much that I lent it to someone who lives halfway across the country, and bought a second copy because I just wanted to have it on my shelf. It's thrilling, interesting, heart-wrenching, and thought-provoking. AND it's Canadian! Bonus!
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! This has become one of my favourite books. It was initially a topic that I wasn't interested in, but from the opening chapter, I was hooked! This book makes you question everything and led me to do some deep reflecting. I couldn't recommend it enough!
Date published: 2017-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read!! This novel was a great read, I really couldn't put the book down. At the beginning didn't know it was back and forth but it made the book more interesting knowing that chapter to chapter was another piece to the puzzle was an amazing read. I can't wait to read more of her work, actually just ordered another book. Great story!
Date published: 2017-05-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So so I'm not entirely sure what to make of this book. The plot in theory is an interesting one - a dystopian world in which the better part of the population has been killed off by an unforgiving bout of the flu. Honestly, there wasn't much flow to to the story. I had to keep reminding myself of how each character fit into the plot and what the timeline was. This could have been a really good book, but it fell short for me.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay I didn't love this the way other people did. It had a slow start but eventually I got into it. The character lines intertwined which was interesting but I think that the author could have provided further resolution. Overall interesting read
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I loved how the characters stories intertwined to create an eerie feeling about this futuristic world. The back and forth of then and now, and between the different characters lives was exactly what kept me hooked on this haunting telling of Earth's dystopian future.
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A comment on what makes us human A comment on human nature, Station Eleven explores the roles art and faith have in the very fibres of our beings, and provides a commentary on the fleeting nature of fame and recognition. Sometimes what we are remembered for is not at all what we set out to accomplish. This book explores what motivates and drives us, and how we persevere. Grim at times, Station Eleven leaves you with a sense of hope, a sense of renewal, and a sense that time is circular.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was good I have to say, I certainly enjoyed this book, however, I think my expectations were set a little too high. Prior to picking this one up, I had heard so many people rave about it. A post-apocalyptic novel about a travelling group of performers, this book discusses the resilience of the human spirit and the aspects of life are the most important when we lose everything. With that kind of description, can you blame me for expecting this book to move me in a deeply profound way? Although I did enjoy and appreciate this novel, the story, and its characters, I really think the expectations for this one were impossible to meet. That being said, it's definitely one of my favourite post-apocalyptic reads, and I'm not really a huge fan of the genre. The fact that I enjoyed this one certainly says something about its quality! I think the main reason I didn't give this one a higher rating was because it was a bit slow. Honestly, I felt the book dragged until the last third where we get to meet the group of people who made a life for themselves in an airport. Station Eleven is not a hugely plot-based novel, and it's not action-packed or anything like that. Instead, we get glimpses into characters' lives before and after the flu that sent the world into its post-apocalyptic state. I found the flu plot to be extremely interesting, as I am a sucker for pandemic-themed movies. I also loved how the book would jump between the past and the present, so we weren't stuck walking throughout a devastated world for the whole story. That's one of the reasons I'm not a huge fan of the genre - there's an awful lot of walking :P Another aspect of the story that I really liked was seeing the connections unfold between the different characters. Throughout the novel, many of the characters' lives and stories seem separate or disjointed from one another, however, little connections are revealed, whether it is someone in the post-apocalyptic world finding the possession of someone from the past, or people meeting somewhere along the way. I thought Mandel tied the characters together in a very masterful and subtle way. Station Eleven is a novel that I would certainly recommend to everyone who is interested in the premise. I actually wouldn't mind seeing this one turned into a movie. I don't regret reading it, and in fact, the more I talk about it, the more I kind of want to boost the rating! However, I cannot help the fact that I was a little bit bored at times. Just don't let the hype get to you and you'll definitely enjoy this one!
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Darkness I loved the artistic way the different stories wove together in this hauntingly realistic version of the not too distant future. It was a different and refreshing read for sure, it is a book that makes you think for sure. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5* This book was beautiful. The non-linear storytelling should've put me off and there isn't much of a plot/conflict, but both of these elements work really well to tell a story about humans and their relationships. The virus that wipes out the population is more of the incident that allows the characters to flourish instead of being a central problem in the book.
Date published: 2017-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow What a strange, lovely book. I'm not entirely sure what to say, and I don't think I can do it justice. Just read it, because it is amazing, and there is nothing I don't like about it.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible This was such a beautiful read and definitely one of my favourites of 2016. The story was unique and the characters were so easy to follow and fall in love with. Must Read!
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful read I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book, but I was extremely and pleasantly surprised. Although it does move at a slower pace, the world and the characters created by the author are just so amazingly beautiful and moving. Station Eleven was so unique in its story telling and its story and I will definitely read it again in the future.
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Although this books switches from different characters' perspectives and the year that they are in, it do it in a way that does not make things confusing. The characters are really interesting, as we learn about how much they have changed over their growth. The book really makes you think about life and civilization.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book will probably evoke you to think about things and life in a whole new perspective. Take your time with this book and really soak in it.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moving I was reading this while directing a production of Macbeth, and it really helped me remember why we (the theatre people) do what we do. Egotistical reason to love a book? Maybe. but it came to me at the right time.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I like this book but i hope it's not used for educational purposes #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent! I have a terrible track record for grabbing a random book when I'm sick, and having it turn out to be about the flu that wiped out humanity. I don't know how I manage, but this is the second time it's happened now! Apart from the issue of the book convincing me I was probably going to die from my head cold, I really loved it! The story and characters all revolve around an actor named Arthur, who dies before the meat of the story even begins. I loved how intricately the author wove the different characters together with Arthur as a common element, but still without taking away the suspense and mystery of how they fit into the post-apocalyptic portion of the plot. I really liked how, despite being central to all the characters, there's only one chapter near the end that's actually ABOUT Arthur himself. The story goes back and forth between the time leading up to the flu epidemic that wipes out most of humanity, and the years after. It was interesting to get to see snapshots of how the characters grew as their situation changed, without actually following any one character for the full 20+ years that the book covers. Everything about this novel is so well plotted out, it's just perfectly pieced together to make you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens. I really enjoyed it!
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from lovely Lovely, elegant prose. Post-apocalyptic, character-driven novel. The opening scenes in Toronto gave me chills.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very well written Interesting, loved this book. Many perspectives but all great to read!
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thematically Beautiful Although this novel isn't perfect, it does an amazing job at establishing and exploring various themes through parallel story lines. I really liked the description of the world and the people living in it, and there was a good combination of light and dark undertones that kept me in suspense, but also hopeful.
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Cool Read I read this book at the same time as the MadAddam series so I was getting the story lines confused at first (whoops!) but this one ultimately stood out on it's own. The settings and activities of the characters are very unique. How the book ties together at the end is awesome, if predictable in some ways.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this too! I'm always on the hunt for post-apocalyptic fiction with strong literary characteristics and this book is it. It has a number of different themes, but I particularly liked how it examined the role of art in society.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Post-Apocalyptic Fatigue Sets In The setup was perfect. A post-apocalyptic story that aimed to appeal to fans of comic books written by a rising star in the Canadian literary scene. It was bolstered by great reviews from authors I love. So why didn’t I love Station Eleven? A fine question, so let’s parse it out, shall we? Station Eleven opens with the death of a famous actor, Arthur Leander, as he plays King Lear on the stage in Toronto. Jeevan, a former paparazzo turned paramedic, rushes to his aid while a young Kirsten cries off to the side of the stage. Soon after his death, Arthur’s longtime friend Clark receives notice of his death. Oh, and within hours of Arthur’s death, the world falls victim to an especially virulent flu that brings about the apocalypse. These characters, and others, orbit around Arthur Leander and his legacy as they navigate the world before and after the apocalypse. The most consistent story thread throughout the novel is that of the adult Kirsten as she accompanies “The Travelling Symphony,” a Shakespearean troupe that travels the sparsely populated world. Though the concept is appealing, I found these sections to be a drudge to read through. For anyone familiar with any post-apocalyptic media from the past few years, Station Eleven will tread over familiar ground. You can expect bleak outlooks, men and women forced to do heinous things to survive in a changed world, and lunatics who sow chaos. With that said, St. John-Mandel beautifully renders a world without civilization. During these sections she provides an examination of today’s world and it might look like without tweets, electricity, and food security. This is all done quite well, it’s just a shame that these oppressively somber sections felt like depressing diversions from the more exciting storylines. Though the apocalypse looms heavy over the entire novel, the pre-apocalyptic sections are beautifully written, heartfelt, and heartbreaking stories. Roughly, the entire novel revolves around Arthur Leander, who is the most compelling character of the large cast. We see Arthur move from rural B.C. to Toronto to seek fame, jump forwards and backwards as he struggles throughout his multiple marriages. Arthur is a conflicted man with a veneer of Hollywood confidence. The reader is told parts of Arthur’s story from his perspective, while others are told by those that he knew. In particular, his first wife, Miranda, is the lead of many chapters and a fully realized character in her own right. Miranda (along with the aforementioned Clark) provides the reader with the most consistent image of Arthur aside from his own. The entire novel soars in its conclusion as Arthur’s final moments are juxtaposed with his legacy in the post-apocalyptic world. It’s just such a shame that more than half of the novel is spent meandering towards this conclusion through desolate landscapes with a story with which I was more than familiar. This isn’t a bad novel by any stretch of the imagination; indeed, I imagine many of you might love Station Eleven! Perhaps it’s my fatigue with post-apocalyptic fiction, but St. John-Mandel’s strong prose is better suited elsewhere than this ho-hum survivor tale.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Station Eleven is rare in that it's a contemporary novel that has instantly made it into my all-time favourites. It is an intelligently crafted novel that provides the points of view of different characters during a catastrophe. It is beautifully written and enthrals the reader until the very last page.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommend this book! This book is one that I have continued to think about long after I finished it. Great story and very creative thinking.
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from world's colliding Really enjoyed the writing and weaving of stories. Complex without being heavy handed.
Date published: 2015-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed this! I remember back when this book first came out and it started gaining quite a bit of hype. I read up on the synopsis which was extremely intriguing, especially because it mentioned a futuristic dystopian setting in the city of Toronto which is where I happen to be from. I decided to purchase it with a gift card I received for Christmas and it had been sitting on my shelf until now. The first chapter opens up with a man named Jeevan who is attending a production of King Lear at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. I found it a lot easier for me to picture this scenery and the city surrounding it as it was being described as I have actually been in this theatre and walked these streets in reality. Toronto has been my home for twenty three years, a.k.a. the entirety of my life and hearing these street names as the story progresses and we enter a dystopian future via an H1N1 style virus, made this future extremely easy to visualize. This storyline jumps to and from multiple time periods and character points of view. Usually this can be quite confusing and hard to follow, but in this case it made for a very unique way of telling the story of a very realistic apocalypse and how different characters have experienced it. We have the opportunity to see the fall of the human race from those who have lived on Earth for many years before the virus eliminated 99% of mankind in addition to the internet, electricity and travel. We also get to see it from the points of view from children who were either to young to remember the world the way it was before or who were born after the virus had happened. In addition to jumping perspectives, the story jumps time periods to moments well before the virus, as the virus was taking place and up to 20 years afterward. I loved this aspect to the story as it represented the life we take for granted and how the human race would react, adapt and survive something that wiped out every bit of technology we rely on as well as almost the entire population. This idea of an apocalypse was so realistic that I feel as though it could happen at any moment and reading this novel really made me think about how lucky we all are to have the things that we are so lucky to have. The characters were all fantastic and the way they are all connected without even realizing it was insane and so well written and thought out. Even after Earth has been wiped of 99% of people, it still felt like such a small world. The time period in which the apocalypse has yet to happen is told from a few points of view, mainly Arthur Leander, and later in the story, his friend Clark. I found the character of Arthur to be so well written. To go from his teenaged years where he longed to be a famous actor, to his later years when he realized that fame was not all he had hoped for. Clark was a surprise for me. He started as a minor side character and by the time you’ve reached the end of the story, he feels like one of the more important characters within the novel. As the virus has started to materialize and begun wipe out the population, the story is being told by Jeevan. Jeevan’s story was unique as it showed the initial instinct to adapt and survive. The story also fast forwards 20 years into the future, after the virus has struck and the remainder of the population has settled. This section of the story is mostly told from Kirsten’s point of view. Kirsten was just a child when the virus struck and the aftermath is the only world she has ever known. Of course there are going to be some fanatics after something as traumatic as the apocalypse and this story wouldn’t be realistic without someone who may have lost a few marbles. This is where we are introduced to “The Prophet”, the leader of a cult-like group of survivors. As stated earlier, all of these characters are connected in ways that are so well thought out. I didn’t expect anything to connect while reading, but it was beyond a pleasant surprise. This book deserved all the hype that it received and continues to receive. I highly recommend checking this book out as it can definitely be described as a story you never even knew you wanted to read. Definitely one of my favourite reads so far this year!
Date published: 2015-11-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Did not live up to the hype I just finished Station Eleven and I was disappointed that it did not live up to the reviews. The story about a post-apocalyptic world started off very slow for me. The author presents different characters at separate periods (before/after the Georgian Flu), that I found had very little connection. I felt no empathy for the main characters.
Date published: 2015-06-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Left me confused for most of the book I was disappointed in this novel. From the advertising and write ups I had read, I was expecting a post-apocalyptic story. What it turned out to be was a biography of a fictional actor who was possibly the last celebrity to die before the onslaught of a virulent pandemic. The opening chapter was most appealing and had me eagerly reading. A paramedic in training was attending a theatrical performance when he noticed that the lead actor was suffering a medical crisis. His attempt to resuscitate him was unsuccessful. Shortly after he left the theatre, a former colleague called him and told him of an extremely aggressive flu at the local hospital. He warned him to prepare for the possible crisis. And then we don't hear from this character for twenty years. What followed was a disjointed series of stories about Arthur's past interspersed with glimpses of the daily life of a band of actors and musicians as they travel from one settlement to the next. In the end, the stories did come together, but it wasn't enough to overcome the confusion that I felt for the preceding three hundred pages. This book a has been selected as the One Book One Community Read for Waterloo Region where I live.
Date published: 2015-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing read! Loved every sentence Station Eleven manages to be depressing yet upbeat, beautiful story. Wonderfully executed. Station Eleven is the story you never knew you needed but always wanted. Beautiful is all I can say! One of the best I've read in a long long time
Date published: 2015-04-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So good Just loved it i found the story unique. Definitely recommended
Date published: 2015-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Couldn't put it down! It truly is a story you never realized you had always wanted. Great for book clubs.
Date published: 2015-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Highly recommended! I had really high expectations for this book! I’d heard great things about it from other readers and bloggers, and the story really appealed to me (especially as it’s partly set in Toronto. Yay Canada!). I love survival stories and post-apocalyptic stories and post-major disaster stories and this book was a bit of all of those! I was very slow to get into this, but I ended up loving the book. The writing and the story were excellent, particularly the way various characters were portrayed and connected in different times. I loved the way the story jumped from one character to another, and in different time periods. I think that can be a very difficult thing to do successfully, but the author does it so well in Station Eleven. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t connect to this book emotionally as I hoped I would, but the writing and the story are fantastic. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2015-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the most amazing books I've ever read!! Breathtaking, vividly beautiful, tragic and unforgettable. I put this in my top 10 favourite books of all time!! I couldn't put it down.. I can't sing Emily St.John Mandel's praises enough. She is a brilliant author.
Date published: 2015-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5 Feverish Stars!!! STATION ELEVEN BY EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL My thoughts on this amazing book! Can you imagine the world as we know it ending in a heartbeat? Emily St. John Mandel can. And has. Beautifully. Realistically. Poignantly. Mandel’s tale of a worldwide mass pandemic flu virus and its effect on the characters in her story is not only masterfully crafted and heart-wrenching, its premise is all too probable and terrifying. Told from the various points of view of an interesting, realistically flawed and endearing cast, Ms. Mandel transports the reader through time seamlessly and skillfully. The reader never feels lost and the story flows exquisitely. Station Eleven has become my favourite book of 2014. I was not expecting to be moved so much by an apocalyptic story when lately they are all too common. In a landscape that has become filled with tales of zombie invasions and other dystopian/catastrophic-themed books, Station Eleven is perfectly unique. This one stands alone and Emily St. John Mandel should be so very proud of her work. Simply put, it’s brilliant. What first grabbed me was that the opening scene is set in Toronto. As a native Torontonian it was great to immediately connect with the setting. What kept me enthralled and turning the pages was the writing. It takes a lot to move me to tears. I’m not one to get all red-eyed and sniffly from books or movies. But Station Eleven had me grabbing for the tissues on more than one occasion. Maybe it was the fact that it was my hometown that was a centre point of the siege but what I really think caused my reaction was that the writing allowed me to completely envision this pandemic and the events of the story actually unfolding. I became so immersed in the story that every possible emotion was pulled from the deep, dark places they hide within me. The entire novel played out like a movie in my mind. It was a feeling that I don’t often get from books anymore. It left me with a great sense of gratitude and fulfillment. I can’t say that about very many books. The message here is clear: Let’s not take it all for granted. There is a scene around page 279 that had me utterly gutted. Raw. Beautiful. This book begs to be read and shared. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It’s no surprise that it’s become my “Staff Pick” @chaptersindigo. Thank you Ms. Mandel for writing it. 5 Feverish Stars
Date published: 2014-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Survival is insufficient" "First we only want to be seen, but once we're seen, that's not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered." I fervently pray to the Book Gods that "Station Eleven" is the breakout novel that Emily St. John Mandel will be remembered for. She deserves it, and we could stand to benefit from the exposure of this immense talent. Like Margaret Atwood's speculative fiction trilogy MaddAddam, "Station Eleven" is extremely readable as a literary dystopian title. It flashes to and fro between various timelines, mostly from Before and After the plague that civilization as we know it crumbles under; it interweaves the stories of multiple characters who are as flawed as they are humanly sympathetic - everyday people who have their own longings and vulnerabilities, who are just seeking their place in the world, even in a post-apocalypse one; it captures the elegance in finding independence yet counters it with the loneliness of being disconnected from human intimacy. "Station Eleven" also includes a number of irresistible details. An obscure comic series, Dr Eleven, where Vol.1 No 1: Station Eleven proves to be a significant namesake, a Travelling Symphony that traverses across the harsh landscape in caravans, the lead caravan marked with a Star Trek: Voyager quote, "Survival is insufficient," and the shadows of Shakespeare's works like King Lear. It is in the vivid imageries - the planet station of the Dr Eleven comics, on the road under the stars out in a devastated landscape, a fleet of ships moored on the coast of Malaysia seen from afar, a ragtag settlement borne out of an airport where empty planes sit abandoned, even the Elgin Theatre and the College streetcars in a snow-covered Toronto - that I find "Station Eleven" so unforgettable. I'm left haunted by it, having experienced both a silent beauty and a melancholic darkness. The sheer impression "Station Eleven" has left on me summed up in Mandel's words: "There are thoughts of freedom and imminent escape. I could throw away almost everything, she thinks, and begin all over again. Station Eleven will be my constant."
Date published: 2014-08-13

Editorial Reviews

It’s hard to imagine a novel more perfectly suited, in both form and content, to this literary moment.