Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

From the back cover

What was lost in the collapse:

almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America.

The world will never be the same again.

Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse.

But then her newly hopeful world is threatened.

If civilization was lost, what would you preserve?

And how far would you go to protect it?

My thoughts

We picked up Station Eleven by chance and it was a wonderful surprise. I couldn’t put it down.

It is very well written and the prose has a rhythm that lulls you as you realize the world is collapsing – even before the big pandemic flu for some characters – and there isn’t much hope left. This is not your regular book about a post-apocalyptic world. It does not describe thoroughly what is left of the world or the struggles of the characters to adapt. Instead, it hints at it and, at the same time, it reminds you that the characters struggled even before 99% of the population died off. For me, it reminded me what it means to be human, what happens when the world changes irrevocably because of everyday events – from a single death, to becoming aware of your own unhappiness, or mass Pandemic flu. It is about the small moments and items that connect us, even if we don’t realize it. And, most of all, it is about our ability to escape reality and despair through art and creativity.

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