Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – Review

October 7, 2014

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is an apocalyptic tale about the fall of human civilisation and the struggle of the survivors after a pandemic wipes out 99% of the population.  It follows several characters as they attempt to survive in this new world and come to terms with what has happened to their civilisation.  I Iistened to this in audiobook format and enjoyed it very much.

What I liked

Interesting narrative structure.  Rather than have a straightforward linear narrative, Mandel tells her story through a series of non sequential vignettes taking place before, during and after the Collapse as it is called.  These snapshots are loosely connected through the character of Arthur Leander.  Although Arthur dies in the very beginning, shortly before the Collapse, his presence is felt throughout the book.  These snippets of life give more of an impression than a comprehensive narrative, but it is very effective at conveying the idea of a society after a collapse.

Interesting characters.  Mandel has a wide cast of characters with each given his or her moment in the spotlight.  The points of view covered include characters who remember society before the Collapse, some who have only vague memories of how things were and those younger people who have only known this broken society. This creates a very interesting range of attitudes and experiences.

The audio narration.  The narrator for Station Eleven was Kirsten Potter and I felt she did a fantastic job.  I enjoyed hearing the tale spoken out loud and Potter was great at distinguishing between all the characters.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Station Eleven and gave it four and a half stars out of five.

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