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.
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, 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 cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.
Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. 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 dares to leave.
Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
Despite having to read this book for school, I really enjoyed Station Eleven! It was an amazing novel that I truly loved and I can’t wait to recommend it to everyone.
One night, actor Arthur Leander has a heart attack on stage and passes away. In the upcoming days, a Georgia flu spreads over the globe. Twenty years later, the Travelling Symphony passes through towns performing plays for the few survivors that still live. Characters that seem to be completely unconnected soon relate in unexpected and unique ways. While it is an apocalyptic fiction novel, it is not about the apocalypse or how it comes. Station Eleven is a novel about people, and the way we survive.
I loved Station Eleven. After spending a semester reading all the different types of moralistic apocalyptic fiction, I loved that this refreshing read wasn’t really about how the apocalypse happens, but how we survive it. I loved reading about the Travelling Symphony. Their motto is “because survival is insufficient”, and this novel is just really invested in people, not passing judgements.
I wish I could say more but this novel is just really great! If you’re tired of apocalyptic novels that pass judgement on our lives and describe the ways we’ll die in excruciating detailing, this is the novel for you! (Also, it takes place partially in Toronto and I loved that! Yay for Canadian authors and a Canadian setting!)
Overall, Station Eleven was an extraordinary novel that I really enjoyed. It was a refreshing change from what I usually read and I can totally see why it has won so many awards.