When I first saw the title Station Eleven I thought it was going to be about a train station. I was so, so wrong. Like, embarrassingly wrong.
Even after I read the description on the back cover, I still wasn’t expecting the right thing. The story definitely took me by surprise. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, follows a group of people as they navigate a world after a flu epidemic that had a mortality rate of 99%, obliterating the world’s population. This is the kind of story that follows several different characters, some more closely than others, but all connected in one way or another. The main connection seems to be with an actor named Arthur, who the story begins with. I really enjoy stories that are written like this, following several characters that are linked, and Emily St. John Mandel does it very well. I love that seemingly basic information in the beginning of the story, is then discovered to be important or even a pivotal event through the eyes of a separate character. Sometimes two characters share a moment, but it impacts one much more than it does the other, or impacts each in a different way. The different connections throughout the story are amazingly intricate.
To be completely honest, I almost stopped reading the book a couple chapters in because it was giving me anxiety about “what if this kind of epidemic actually happened today?” I have already accepted the fact that if there is ever any kind of apocalypse, be it zombie, or flu related, I would be one of the first people to succumb. I have no survival instincts or skills, plus even if I did survive the initial outbreak, I would run out of contacts/contact solution at some point, so I would be blind and fall into a ditch. I bet you never see that problem in The Walking Dead. Obviously, I finished the book though. The characters and intertwined storylines drew me in.
If you ever feel like you are taking our world with its running water, cell phones, electricity, grocery stores and oranges for granted, or need some perspective on your current life or situation, read this book. Every chapter will make you appreciate the chair, or couch you are reading in, the tablet you are reading your e-book on, the book light you are using to read at night, or the bed you are reading in before you fall asleep.
Also, if you think your teenager takes for granted the things they have, like a cell phone and laptop, have them read Station Eleven. Hopefully it will put everything in perspective. It certainly did for me.
I hope to write more about Station Eleven in the future because the characters and how they are connected fascinate me so much. I didn’t go super in depth now because I wanted to keep it spoiler free (which I think I did).
But seriously. Read Station Eleven.