It’s been awhile since I read Emily St. John Mendel’s Station Eleven. This review is long in coming for a book that I absolutely loved. I’ve bought a copy for some friends. It’s excellent and I can’t recommend it enough.
It’s difficult to fully categorize Station Eleven as a post apocalyptic fiction. Half the story takes place after 99.6% of the entire population has died. The other half takes place in flashbacks that are fully realized and let the reader experience characters pre-pandemic lives.
What Station Eleven isn’t, is a dreary downer of a post apocalyptic tale. “Survival is insufficient.” Is a quote that shapes the theme of Station Eleven. Following a troop of actors through landscapes and scenarios is a vastly different take than many other post apocalyptic stories. Plays are performed for the settlements that have risen after the fall. Joy and needed escape from the new normal are brought to the people and received by the players themselves.
Unlike other post apocalyptic stories, I found Station Eleven to be a bit more hopeful. There’s a strong bond in the friendship that is easier to come by. While not void of the typical threats experienced in post apocalyptic tales, foreboding doom doesn’t permeate the entire work. There is not an overabundance of violence. This is the cleanest smelling post apocalypse I’ve imagined.
Full disclosure, I listened to the audio book. Which means when I read the book, I’ll be reading it for the first time. I guess I could watch the show too.