Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Usually I’m at least a year behind on these things (I read the Hunger Games trilogy maybe two months before the movies came out; I read Gone Girl about six months prior). When I saw this in a book shop while on vacation I mentioned to my husband that I thought it had been reviewed a bunch this year, and was the subject of a book club, but that I knew nothing about it. I feel lucky to have come into it without any realy background information, because I didn’t know what to expect.
I loved this book. I’m currently in Paris, and have a really nasty cold, so we’ve been alternating between exploring the city and then coming back to the hotel to rest. During those hours when I did’t feel well enough to wander, I read this book. It was captivating, it was interesting, and it is a book I’d recommend. As someone who works on emergency management planning, the basics of the pandemic (although we didn’t get tons of details ) were really interesting to me. I’ve got another book to read soon – “The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch” – but I wonder how long it really would take for certain things – for example, electricity – to return to this world.
It’s not my favorite book ever (or even of this CBR), but it’s so very good. What I think is interesting is that, for me, I didn’t get absorbed into the world. I was always aware of the fact that I was reading a book, and even though the descriptions Ms. St. John Mandel are vivid, I am left feeling as though I both can and cannot picture any of the main characters. That might not make sense to anyone not inside my head, but usually when I read what I consider well-written literature, it feels like a film is playing in my mind. I didn’t ever get that from this book, or I should say, I only got it on occasion. It’s unclear whether that is me or the book, but it’s what keeps it from a five star rating.
As for the book club discussion, I think who people think is the main character is an interesting one. For me, I didn’t think there was really any question that Kirsten was the main character. I thought that was obvious, so it’s really interesting to read other folks who think that clearly Clark, or any of the other characters, was the main character. I do love that and think it speaks to the author’s ability to create a world that speaks to readers in different ways.