While we’re in Toronto this week, I plan on digging into the audiobook of Emily St. John Mandel’s STATION ELEVEN. I have been meaning to read this for some time, and wouldn’t you know it, the moment I get ready to leave for a library conference, I’m right in line for the download. Seeing as this novel begins during an unprecedented flu epidemic in Toronto, I don’t know if this is good timing or not. One thing for sure, after listening to only a few chapters so far, I’m hooked!
STATION ELEVEN begins during a production of King Lear, when a famous Hollywood actor who has waited his whole life to play the lead role, dies onstage suddenly. In the middle of this terrible event, a young man who tried to help him, receives news from a friend that a Georgian Flu epidemic has arrived in Toronto, and is causing massive deaths. He is urged to get out of town…immediately.
While this book moves back and forth through time, telling several stories at once, it centers around twenty years in the future, when 99% of the population has been killed off, and now, a theatre company called the Traveling Symphony performs for those living in leftover colonies. An intriguing premise, that promises to link the arts world with the concrete world that none of us would recognize.
Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel is so lyrical, and yet draws you in to this devastating time and place no one could possibly predict. I can’t wait to really get into it this week. I’m sure it’s going to be one of my favourite books this year.
Have you read it? Are you tired of post-apocalyptic novels? Do you think this is a unique take on the subject matter? Let us know what you think!