2016: 25. Station Eleven

The king stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored.

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

I’m the last person on Earth to read this, probably, as it was the big book of last year, but as I say whenever I come upon this topic, I’m not a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction.  And thus, even though everyone raved about the book, and every time I saw the cover I was drawn too it, I kept not reading Station Eleven.  And then I gave in, bought it and read, it and no surprise (based on the aforementioned raving) it’s great.  Absolutely well written - much more literary fiction than sci-fi (not that there is anything wrong with sci-fi), and given the subject, a moving meditation on life and art and such.  A great read.

The novel opens in Toronto, during a performance of King Lear, in which the actor playing Lear, a famous movie star, drops dead.  Obviously big news - until the next day, when the global pandemic begins.  The novel then moves thirty years in the future, where the remains of humanity are kicking along as best they can - including a troupe of travelling actors, trying to keep the arts alive in a destroyed world.  It’s just beautifully written - even talking about the bleakest subjects it doesn’t seem like misery porn, but has an underlying message of the value of human life and a strange sort of hope.  Maybe I need to stop saying I don’t like to read about apocalypses, because once again I have found, in a subject I don’t love, a book I really enjoyed and respected.  If you are one of the few who haven’t read it yet, I recommend it.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017