Other Sellers on Amazon
Station Eleven Paperback – June 2, 2015
|New from||Used from|
Enhance your purchase
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
From the Publisher
“Station Eleven is so compelling, so fearlessly imagined, that I wouldn’t have put it down for anything.”
— Ann Patchett
“A superb novel . . . [that] leaves us not fearful for the end of the word but appreciative of the grace of everyday existence.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Deeply melancholy, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac . . . A book that I will long remember, and return to.”
— George R. R. Martin
“Absolutely extraordinary.” —Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus
“Darkly lyrical. . . . A truly haunting book, one that is hard to put down." —The Seattle Times
“Tender and lovely. . . . Equal parts page-turner and poem.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Mesmerizing.” — People
“Mandel delivers a beautifully observed walk through her book’s 21st century world…. I kept putting the book down, looking around me, and thinking, ‘Everything is a miracle.’”—Matt Thompson, NPR
“My book of the year.”—Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
“Unmissable. . . . A literary page-turner, impeccably paced, which celebrates the world lost.” —Vulture
“Haunting and riveting.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Station Eleven is the kind of book that speaks to dozens of the readers in me—the Hollywood devotee, the comic book fan, the cult junkie, the love lover, the disaster tourist. It is a brilliant novel, and Emily St. John Mandel is astonishing.” —Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers
“Think of Cormac McCarthy seesawing with Joan Didion. . . . Magnetic.” —Kirkus (starred)
“Even if you think dystopian fiction is not your thing, I urge you to give this marvelous novel a try. . . . [An] emotional and thoughtful story.” —Deborah Harkness, author of The Book of Life
“It’s hard to imagine a novel more perfectly suited, in both form and content, to this literary moment. Station Eleven, if we were to talk about it in our usual way, would seem like a book that combines high culture and low culture—“literary fiction” and “genre fiction.” But those categories aren’t really adequate to describe the book” —The New Yorker
“Audacious. . . . A book about gratitude, about life right now, if we can live to look back on it." —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“A surprisingly beautiful story of human relationships amid devastation.” —The Washington Post
“Soul-quaking. . . . Mandel displays the impressive skill of evoking both terror and empathy.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“A genuinely unsettling dystopian novel that also allows for moments of great tenderness. Emily St. John Mandel conjures indelible visuals, and her writing is pure elegance.” —Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers
“Possibly the most captivating and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic novel you will ever read.” —The Independent (London)
“A firework of a novel . . . full of life and humanity and the aftershock of memory.” —Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls
“One of the best things I’ve read on the ability of art to endure in a good long while.” —Tobias Carroll, Electric Literature
“Will change the post-apocalyptic genre. . . . This isn’t a story about survival, it’s a story about living.” —Boston Herald
“A big, brilliant, ambitious, genre-bending novel. . . . Hands-down one of my favorite books of the year.” —Sarah McCarry, Tor.com
“Strange, poetic, thrilling, and grim all at once, Station Eleven is a prismatic tale about survival, unexpected coincidences, and the significance of art.” —Bustle, “Best Book of the Month”
“Disturbing, inventive and exciting, Station Eleven left me wistful for a world where I still live.” —Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
About the Author
- Publisher : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; Reprint edition (June 2, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0804172447
- ISBN-13 : 978-0804172448
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story picks up next with Kirsten now in her early twenties, walking with The Traveling Symphony - a collection of musicians and actors who stage plays for the small remnant communities that dot the region of Michigan and Toronto. They visit a community that has mutated in a strange way as it has come under the control of a religious fanatic. She has a pair of comic books featuring "Dr. Eleven" on "Station Eleven," which has a storyline about a space station/world that has carried the remnant of humanity into a dark and watery reality.
Then, the story skips back to follow Arthur Leadro's life, his development as an actor, his courtship of Miranda, who spends her life drawing the Station Eleven comics, and the disappointments he creates for himself. Then, it is back to the present of the post-apocalypse as Kirsten and her group deal with the threat of the religious fanatics. And, then, back to follow the story of what happens to Jeevan. And then forward to the present and the fate of a friend of Arthur's. And then back to the past, and further information that sheds light on the characters.
Some might not like the way this story is structured, but I liked the story. What I got was the sense of the world that the author was creating. As a reader who was not confined to a single point of view, I got a sense of the effect and experience of both the collapse of civilization and human life thereafter. Further, the returns to the past and the banalities of the life we take for granted - celebrities, movies, dinner parties, airplane flights, and the rest - creates a sense of melancholy for the world that is lost. This sense informs the scenes of the museum of civilization at the Severn City Airport, where passports and inoperable cell phones are put on display for the edification of people who remember life when they worked and for the younger generation who has no idea of what they are.
The story worked for me. I was drawn along with curiosity to see what developed. The prose was lovely. The characters were nicely developed, particularly that of Arthur Leandro, who, in fact, never makes it into the post-apocalyptic world that is the supposedly what this story is about. The mood and tone of the story are generally somber, but it all makes for a nice change from the frantic cliches of the endless crop of zombie apocalypses.
Station Eleven starts like any post-apocalyptic book, with the obligatory deadly flu that empties the earth. So far so good. But no, it keeps jumping back to the pre-flu world, following this insipid and unsufferable movie star and his interminable collection of wives (soon to be ex wives) and mistresses (soon to be wives, soon to be ex wives). At least gossip magazines make it juicy enough to keep us entertained. And if gossip was what I wanted to read, I would have bought the gossip magazines. There's also some very sparse parts set several years after the end of the world as we know it, with a group of travelling actors and musicians performing for the struggling human settlements along the road, which could also be interesting if it wasn't, again, mindless gossip about the performers, who sleeps with who, who likes who, the costume choices, where can we find a jar of rosin, etc. You'd think a post apocalyptic world would offer more interesting subject matters. The only tenuously secondary story that has something interesting to offer follows a group of survivors stranded at an airport, and a self proclaimed prophet with nefarious intents. But it all probably takes less than 10 pages in total.
Top reviews from other countries
Station Eleven isn't your usual apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic novel: the focus isn't the pandemic itself. The story isn't a linear one and alternates, without any obvious logic at first, between moments before the pandemic, during the pandemic or after it. The reader realises quite quickly that the focus actually is the characters and the consequences of the pandemic on them. There's no epic tale of survival, but tales of self-discovery and how to find your place in this world.
I have really loved the style: it's beautiful written, sometimes very striking, and Emily St John Mandel varies her narrative choices. Some readers may dislike the absence of linearity: clearly, it's not Flood by Baxter, and it can be frustrating to lose the storyline of one character without knowing if St John Mandel will go back to him or her. But this absence of linearity is actually what makes the beauty of the story: the characters' fate and their choices are examined under an unexpected angle. In a linear story, you wouldn't have felt a single shred of pity for some of them, but with this storytelling choice, they suddenly appear in a completely different light.
The story doesn't really bring anything new to the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic genre, but it is gripping and sometimes very touching.
It is a remarkably beautiful and emotional novel that left me speechless for a few minutes after having finished it.
We have the years after the singular event that causes the post-apocalyptic dystopia that we read of, but we also have before then and not only the events that led up to the massive flu pandemic, Georgia Flu here, but people who are in one way or another circling the actor, Arthur Leander. As we read this we see how important this character is, although he spectacularly dies on stage near the beginning of this, whilst playing King Lear.
Of course, it is unlikely that a pandemic would kill so many people throughout the world in so quick a period, and there is missing some of the really hard-hitting pieces about life immediately after such an event, although rape and murder do come up in the story. This tale concentrates on other things, which makes it so interesting and giving us food for thought that is usually missed.
We meet throughout this book then characters who are related to Leander, through marriage, and even his child, as well as friends of his, and those who for one reason or another have come into contact with him. This may not seem that important at the beginning of this, but it is as you read further into the tale.
By flicking between the past and the present so Emily St John Mandel keeps us intently reading, as we see how all the different pieces come together. We read of Kirsten here then who is travelling with the Symphony, a company that puts on musical events and Shakespearean plays, and as we see, when they eventually reach a town on their usual circuit to pick up a couple of their members, so things have changed, with the so-called Prophet in charge, and his cult. Kirsten was a child actor, who was there when Leander died, and also who was given a couple of comics by him, which were created by his first wife. This is only one link we see between the past and present.
This makes us think of the importance of art and culture on our lives, as well as the loss of those we know, and nostalgia for a past that no longer exists. Therefore memory plays a part here, and how civilisation plays an important part of our lives. By the latter years mentioned here, so life has sort of fallen into a routine, where some control and a touch of normality has started to seep into the everyday. This reminds us that although after some cataclysmic event life may change, eventually it will all fall back into a certain normality, and we can see this throughout history, with the plague, and other epidemics. Whilst people from before such an event are alive, so things can be passed onto newer generations, to keep certain practices and thoughts and ideals alive. Along with this we are also reminded that it is not in living that people gain immortality, but in what we do, and what we are remembered for – although nowadays for some people they think that just posting endless selfies is a fulfilling life. Therefore if you are looking for a basic post-apocalyptic novel you will not find it here. However, if you are looking for something a bit more thoughtful and intelligent, as well as literary, then here you have something that you should enjoy.
This novel is 333 pages long, split into 53 chapters. Short chapter usually help a book to read quickly by giving it pace so that's a good start.
The story starts with a death on stage then quickly becomes more menacing as a killer flu virus spreads rapidly around the world. Lots of people with interconnecting stories are introduced and there plenty of ominous warnings about the imminent end of the world as we know it. Having established the scenario the pace slows a bit as the characters come in. It picks up again once the links start to be established and I was hooked.
It's a complex story with plenty of drama. The narrative focuses on a few people who are still alive twenty years on but there are plenty of references back in time to explain what has happened since the virus first struck.
There are loads of unanswered questions which gives the story a genuine feeling.
Characters are allowed to develop but it is clear from the beginning that characterisation comes a second place to the descriptions of the post apocalyptic world in which they live.
After the initial panic, the book becomes very reflective and this is when it is at its best. Looking back at the futility of civilisation and the strength of humanity to survive.
Towards the end I found the plot stretched the boundaries, that it had successfully established, too far and I wasn't convinced that the ending matched the rest of the novel. This was always going to be a tough story to conclude and the author did a good job.
It to the end, and see if it improved.
Unfortunately, it really didn’t. Not for me anyway. Life is too short to read to the end of a book you don’t enjoy. Pandemic or no pandemic.