Station Eleven

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel
I heard a lot of mentions of this book before I read it, (though I was able to completely avoid spoilers), but no one told me that it was “A Visit from the Goon Squad” plus the end of the world. Oh my gosh, this book! I literally started the audiobook on a Saturday morning and then couldn't stop cleaning the house because I wanted to have a reason to keep listening to it. 
Let me repeat that… this book made me clean so I could keep listening, that has never happened before. There've been times when stayed in my car for an extra minute to keep listening, but I have NEVER spent an entire day cleaning my house because I wanted to keep listening to the book. That's how good this was!
Technically this book is about a post-apocalyptic world. But please do not let that deter you from reading this if that's not your thing. This book really is one of the most well written connected character sketches that I've ever found. It reminded me so much of Egan's book in so many ways. It jumps back-and-forth in time and different chapters are from different characters’ point-of-view. The stories are all connected, woven together to create a big picture view of their world.
The book "The Passage", which was such a big hit a couple years ago, is similar in some ways, but it frustrated to me for a couple reasons. My biggest problem with it was that you became invested in a couple characters that pretty much disappeared after a certain point in the story. For a second in this book I thought the author was going to do the same thing. I didn't realize at first that the storytelling was going to be nonlinear. We jumped around in time, getting to know what our characters are like both before and after the "end of the world".
I was swept away in the stories at every point in the novel, which is difficult for an author to do when you’re juggling so many characters. Normally you get bored with one story and want to return to a different one. But in Station Eleven, each characters’ tale adds so much depth to the others that you don’t care who you are reading about in a given moment.
BOTTOM LINE: Just fantastic, my favorite read of the year so far! If the genre or plot doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I’d encourage you to check it out anyway. It's one of those books that rises above the basic plot points it contains and becomes something that almost anyone can connect with. It's more about human nature, grief, loneliness, and how we are able to connect with others. It's beautiful and I know I'll be reading it again.


Anonymous said...

When I heard everyone raving about this books as a post-apocalyptic tale, I thought it wasn't my thing. But the more I hear people like you talking about it, I feel like i have to read it. Comparisons to the Goon Squad? Not what i was expecting, but you've sold me on it.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I just read/reviewed this one as well, and thought the audio was very addictive.

JoAnn said...

I just read this book and really liked it. Your review makes me wish I'd listened... my house could definitely benefit from a full day of cleaning ;-)

Kerry M said...

So glad you loved this one! I picked it up while traveling, having NO idea what to expect, and it completely swept me off my feet. I gave up gelato outings in Rome to keep reading... GELATO. IN ROME. (I also probably needed to break the 2x/day gelato habit...)

I like your point about encouraging people to read it even if they think it's not their thing; it so transcends any one genre that it should appeal to most readers. And it's just so excellent.

Kailana said...

I was able to completely avoid spoilers, too! And that made me really love this book!

Jillian said...

I wish I loved it as much as others did, but I thought it was just okay! Maybe I was missing something. Glad you loved it though. It is always awesome hearing the words 'favorite book this year so far,' especially since it's only january!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

52booksorbust - It reminded me of Goon Squad so much!!!

Diane - I'm glad you loved it too.

Joann - Ha, my house needed it too. I may read a hardcopy if I reread in the future. Sometimes I find that I notice different aspects of a book depending on the format.

Kerry - Bahaha, it takes a pretty incredible book to keep me from gelato in Italy! I probably would have done the same thing.

Kailana - I love being surprised (in a good way) by a book!

Jillian - So much of reading is about the book hitting you at the right mood, when you have time to enjoy it, etc. There are so many factors!

Belle Wong said...

Confession time: I gave this book to my older son for Christmas so I could borrow it from him :) I'm really looking forward to it.

Andi said...

Yay! So glad you liked it as much as I did!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Belle - Bahaha, I love it. If I had kids I would do the same thing :)

Andi - So good!!!

thecuecard said...

I need to read this one even if I'm tired of the post-apocalyptic genre. I will take your advice. thanks

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

thecuecard - I hope you love it!