Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (What happens when a pandemic hits North America?)

Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (What happens when a pandemic hits North America?)

Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic book, and the story starts out really strong and believable. Jeevan Chaudhary attends a play featuring, a famous actor named Arthur Leander. During the middle of the play, Arthur has a heart attack and dies. Jeevan leaves the theatre and heads home, and then he receives a phone call from his friend that he needs to get out of town, fast.  A plague has hit North America and within hours, those who are symptomatic are dead. Station Eleven tells the story of Arthur, Jeevan and a group of actors who roam around the ruins of this post-apocalyptic world.
Station Eleven started out really strong for me as a reader. Once the plague hits and everyone is panicking, it becomes very believable and real. Unlike many post-apocalyptic stories, you don’t just read about the “after,” you live the demise. This was my favourite aspect of the storyline. Mandel explores before, during and after the pandemic.  

All the characters that remain are connected to Arthur Leander which seemed a little odd when 99 percent of the population is gone. Arthur is explored throughout the novel, and it felt like a character study of him. The post-apocalyptic world wasn’t really explored as much as I would have liked. Mandel likes to allude to these “horrible” things that happened to one of the characters, but she never explored or explained those things. As a reader, I wanted to know. The prophet could have also been explored more in my opinion. I felt like the action started and stopped right away. The book remained more about Arthur than anything else.

I liked this book, but it wasn’t a favourite and I really felt like it was overhyped for me. It started out really strong, and then I just kept waiting for something to happen. I think it’s worth the read if you’re interested. It's timely right now with Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and the awareness of this spreading worldwide. 

Emily St John Mandel is Canadian, and I would say is best know for Station Eleven. She has three previous books and she has a new book releasing this year. Her newest book is called The Glass Hotel and it's said to be  "an exhilarating novel set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events-a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea." This new book releases on March 24, 2020. 

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