Station Eleven (Large Print / Paperback)
September 2014 Indie Next List
“This is a harrowing and wonderful book -- blunt and elegant, wise and frightening, and utterly plausible at every turn. The characters are complicated, but their stories, short or long, are always deeply engaging. We -- our species -- always find ways, little by little, not just to survive but also to reestablish a sense of place, of community, and of compassion. Unsentimental yet deeply moving, Station Eleven is a terrific achievement.”
— John Christensen, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI
— Joe is a former TC bookman, who moved to the countryside & now blogs for us from the field.
I have been a huge fan of Emily St. John Mandel since I read her debut, Last Night in Montreal and have been thrilled to watch her evolution as a writer with each subsequent novel. And now, in her fourth book, the utterly amazing Station Eleven, St. John Mandel has achieved such success with its nomination for the National Book Award. And this is certainly a novel that deserves that nomination (and I say the win!) How to describe this book... A dystopian novel? An ode to theater and classical music? A book on our individual searches for meaning in a world that seems to care little for us? A meditation on today? It is all of these, and more. The book opens in a Toronto theater where a famous Hollywood actor dies onstage playing his dream role. And then all hell breaks loose as the world, as we know it, ends. St. John Mandel then tells a story, dancing back and forth in time, of a group called the Traveling Symphony wanders what remains of the Michigan and Ontario area. She focuses on five people, and how their lives intersect (either before or after the end of the world). This novel is breathtakingly beautiful. St. John Mandel's writing is superb. The reader feels as if they are looking over the character's backs, so immediate and real is the prose. This also makes this book terrifying at times. Imagine a world without electricity, without the conveniences so quickly necessary. No guaranteed safety our society provides. Yet the author also brings out the hope and humanity of this new world, while writing a lovesong to our age, almost as if she is reminding us not to take it all for granted. There were whole sections I reread, either to absorb the story as connections were revealed, or simply to enjoy the beautiful prose. This is a novel to savor, but it is so deliciously good, you will want to devour it. Buy it for yourself, but if for your friends because you're going to want to talk about it. Station Eleven was for me, the best book I read in 2014. Seeing this talented young author nominated for the National Book Award made me glad to see others feel the same way. And it excites me, because it means so many more readers will now get a chance to find out what us Indie Booksellers have been saying for years... Emily St. John Mandel is a must-read! Read this latest, then go back and read her first three. Trust me, you'll be very glad you did!" ~Joe