Saturday, September 5, 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (read 7/11/15 to 8/6/15)

In the opening scenes of the book we see Hollywood star, Arthur Leander, having a heart attack while on stage during a production of King Lear.  Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, Jumps onstage and performs CPR and tries to save Arthur.  As Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as life as we know it disintegrates around them.
Kirsten Raymonde, a child actress, watches as Jeevan tries to save Arthur.  Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony, a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.  Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who leaves. And the search for troupe members left behind ensues.

The book is told from multiple points of view, separate stories and separate times that all weave together in a way that doesn't come together until the very end.  The magical way a single person can have so much impact, reminds me of the old story about dropping a pebble in a pond and the ripples created are countless.  We had alot of debate in BOTM as to who the main character of the book truly was.  I know who I feel, but if I shared that would take away some of the magic of this story.  Some of the characters were flawed, but it made them more real in my mind.  The writing was smooth, and moved the story along at a really nice pace.  I really liked this book, I am glad I bought it rather than just checking out from the library.  I will want to re-read for sure.  I think a stormy winter night by the fireplace will be perfect for that.

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