Friday, September 25, 2015
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
In her book Station Eleven author Emily St. John Mandel reimagines the dystopian novel as a narrative of the slow rebirth of civilzation on a world scoured clean of past glories and past mistakes.
The novel begins with a once celebrated actor now on the slow downslide of his career, playing the title role in Shakespeare's King Lear in a small theater in Toronto, Canada in the cold of winter. In the middle of the play, Arthur Leander suffers a massive heart attack and dies on stage before a stunned audience, cast and crew.
But what might have rated a last flurry of headlines in news reports and comments on social media passes unnoticed a few hours later when a virulent new strain of influenza --- the Georgia Flu --- erupts around the globe, killing billions in days and triggering a complete collapse of the modern, technological world. In short order, all that remains are a few isolated pockets of survivors struggling to rebuild with what they can scavenge from the wreckage.
Mandel follows the paths of several characters whose initial connection is that each one was involved with Arthur Leander at some point in their lives. Station Eleven is that rare bird, a literary novel of speculative fiction set in a post-Apocalypse world. It was a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award for 2015.
Click HERE for an interview with Emily St. John Mandel on National Public Radio.
Click HERE for a review of Station Eleven in the Huffington Post.
Click HERE for a review on sfgate.com