Reviews

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

crystalgem's review against another edition

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adventurous dark inspiring medium-paced

4.75

I devoured this in two sittings. Absolutely loved the writing. 

readingcatt's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring mysterious sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character

4.0

mombond's review against another edition

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3.0

I liked this book. I think there may have been too may storylines that were left hanging.

georgie_rose_'s review against another edition

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5.0

best book I’ve read for ages

sgeron's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

drsdon's review against another edition

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5.0

Phenomenal book to read, an apocalyptic novel that grabs the reader within pages, and remains both haunting and hopeful throughout. Part of the reason I think it demands attention is that its beginning premise of apocalypse is something that seems almost possible - a particular strain of the flu ("Georgia Flu") that simply decimates the human population. In so doing, I believe the author underscores the point that even though we live in such a highly technological age, its still a human age; meaning, if humans are reduced in great capacity, as happens in the novel, that technology goes with it.

There is so much I liked about this book, but just a couple of thoughts here. First, often with apocalyptic or dystopian fiction, the idea is mesmerizing and drives the book, but the characters and/or writing is just okay. Here, the idea is mesmerizing, but the prose is remarkable, and the characters are deep figures, all tied together by one tragedy or another, but memorable, not "throw aways" as so often happens. The result is a complete novel, moments where you feel the characters pain, you see the desolate world they inhabit as a result of the pandemic, and you lose yourself in the author's prose. Second, some may be turned off by the non-sequential nature of the story - the reader is taken backward and forward in time in setting up the characters and the story. This may be disorienting, but because of the strong writing and compelling characters, I think the story weaves together very well.

Finally, the book, I think, makes a comment about what it means to be human, or at least a civilized human. One of the primary characters lives with a "Traveling Symphony" in Year 20 after the world ends, which is a group of musicians and actors who travel to various outposts and small towns of survivors, performing Shakespeare. Part of the reason, in a line stolen from Star Trek, is because "survival is insufficient." I think the characters in the novel's attempt to either find meaning in the pandemic, to find meaning in their lives after the pandemic, to make sense of the new world and their place in it, all points to an underlying truth of what it means to be human - that there is something more than just the animal, evolutionary urge to survive that makes us human, something artistic, beautiful, meaningful - and that as long as that is preserved, human civilization is preserved.

Many people may not read the book because of it involves a pandemic apocalypse, which is a shame, because the book really isn't about the pandemic. It's about finding meaning in life and relationships, and it so beautifully written, that its a very worthy book to read.

elliejack's review against another edition

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adventurous mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

my_crooked_hem's review against another edition

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mysterious medium-paced

4.0

lesliejerkins's review against another edition

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3.0

3.75 stars! I enjoyed it and it seemed all too plausible. Was hoping for something more from the ending, however!

janie's review against another edition

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challenging dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated

4.5