Paperback (Picador, 384 pages)
First published 2014; this edition published 2015
Rating on Goodreads: 3 stars
“An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.”
I won’t lie. I picked this up not because it was a post-apocalyptic novel, but because it in part tells the story of a nomadic troupe performing Shakespeare. And I happen to love both stories of nomadic troupes and Shakespeare’s writings.
What I got instead was a mix of human emotions and bonds as the characters fight for survival in a crumbling world where civilisation has fallen. Station Eleven is above all a tale of humanity, and I enjoyed it. Mandel’s writing is evocative, detailed. The characters – particularly Kirsten and Arthur – are well-crafted, and I found myself sympathising with them several times over the course of the novel.
I did expect a post-apocalyptic novel to be a little longer, and at times I couldn’t quite see the connections between characters nor the importance, but overall I liked this book. It had the elements of a post-apocalyptic novel that you’d expect, but Mandel took those and made them her own. Station Eleven is an original, intriguing piece of work, and if you enjoy post-apocalyptic novels, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.