PopSugar Reading Challenge: A National Book Award Winner

From one dystopia to another. Look I’ll be honest, I am cheating a little here – Station Eleven was only a finalist for the National Book Awards. I struggled to find anything that looked interesting to me on the list of winners. They are all pretty heavy literary type tomes and for once I decided not to push myself and instead read something with an amazing concept that I knew would be entertaining.

I’ve got a special place in my heart for superflu epidemic dystopia. The idea that a flu could kill you is not a new one, but it is one that I’ve always found deliciously thrilling mainly it forces writers to focus on the aftermath rather than the actual plague itself. The Stand by Stephen King is my all time favourite book because of its amazing epic approach to the dystopian novel. Station Eleven takes a smaller view to a similar tragedy but its central theme of ‘survival is insufficient’ is just as interesting.

station eleven emily st john mandel


Summary (From Jacket)
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve.
Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, 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.


The Good

This is a beautifully written novel. I loved the juxtaposition between flashbacks and the current situation as well as the common thread linking the three together.  For me it was a spiritual sister to In The Night Circus, something quiet and poetic but with a darkness just under the surface. The characters were well rounded out and the way they were linked together felt right, not gimmicky or forced. The ending is fantastic, with scope for a sequel that I really hope is coming soon.


The Not So Good

Nothing. This is one of the most perfect novels I’ve ever read.  This is the kind of book that gives you the best kind of hangover – you’re exhausted from staying up all night reading and you don’t want to read anything else for fear of losing grip on its world. If there were more stars to give, I’d give them all.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


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  1. Great review! I loved this book and agree that is so beautifully written! I went back and read her earlier books after this one and they are also good, especially Last Night in Montreal — highly recommended!!

  2. It’s amazing when a story does that to you isn’t it Tory!

    I haven’t read this Station Eleven but haven’t heard anything negative from reviewers.

    Fab review.

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