Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

station eleven

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

Published 9th September 2014

333 pages

Skip It – 2.5 stars

Read from 26th to 29th April

I apologise for some of my language throughout. I am using a lot of more ‘high level’ language due to my university course and exams. I tend to write how I think and don’t want to put it through a thesaurus to make it more relatable. I also apologise if this makes me sound stuck up because you understand or don’t understand the language used and don’t enjoy it.

So I wish to start off by saying that I didn’t dislike this book because this might seem like a really negative book review. At the same time I can’t say that I like this book, it is indifferent to me. In all honesty I think that is the worst thing you can say about a book because at least a like or dislike will elicit some feelings from you and you take something away from it.

For me this is an incredibly forgettable book. I’m not saying that people raved about this book but I have heard so many positive things from many people picking it up. It just wasn’t what I was expecting.

On the whole it just seems poorly executed. There are so many themes and what would seem like moral ideas that the author wants you to take away from it. But in doing this there is no depth and it’s just a very thin and poor story. The only redeeming quality is some of the characters. This is very character driven but the convenient but lose connection between many of the main characters is frustrating in all honesty.

I knew reading it that everyone would come together but I can’t honestly say that I cared or that it mattered in the end. It was just such a poor conclusion with an abysmal climax. There was a small plot twist and that’s about the only thing that garnered a reaction from me.

I don’t understand what the author was aiming for. It was like she had an idea of an apocalyptic world and the event that caused it but then couldn’t develop the idea. Either that are she’s trying to create a view upon society and community. Or she is trying to display the cruelty/insanity of humanity. Or even the selfishness and removed natures of human and their world. Maybe she is trying to discuss the privileged nature and flippantness we all harbour. As you can see, this is the problem I addressed in the beginning. These are all possible themes and they’re poorly developed individually. In contrast if this is what the author is going for then it is horribly pretentious and should be left in the study of classics in our school English lessons.

I think what sealed by indifference was the discovery of the ‘questions for discussion’ at the end of the book. Upon discussing my dislike with this book with my boyfriend informed me that this was a possible choice of texts for his English A-level class. At this stage I was thoroughly finished with this book.

I would certainly not recommend this to anyone but I also wouldn’t tell people not to read it because for me it should just disappear into the field of unknown.  There are so many problems in the world and it feels like this book is trying to reflect this but it just fails so much in my opinion.


That’s all folks!

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