Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2015
Day one: The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the Earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
Week Two: Civilization has crumbled.
Year Twenty: A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and it threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
Moving backwards and forwards in time, from the glittering years just before the collapse to the strange and altered world that exists twenty years after, Station Eleven charts the unexpected twists of fate that connect six people: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan, a bystander warned about the flu just in time; Arthur's first wife, Miranda; Arthur's oldest friend, Clark; Kirsten, an actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed 'prophet'.Emily St. John Mandel was born in Canada and studied dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. She is the author of the novels Last Night in Montreal, The Singer's Gun, The Lola Quartet, and Station Eleven and is a staff writer for The Millions. She is married and lives in New York.
©2014 Emily St. John Mandel (P)2014 Audible Studios
Kildonan by the sea
"The more you remember, the more you've lost,"
A book with a difference and lots of heart and thoughts to share with it’s readers, a pleasure to discover and visit in the magical safety of our time.
Arthur Leander an aging actor; is the center of this book and the first death in a story where 99% of humanity dies of Georgia Flu within days of his departure. Jeevan, a one-time journalist turned trainee paramedic was there at his death and gets the news of the epidemic, 20 year on he is a curator of humanities artifacts. Kirsten Raymonde, an 8-year-old actress is also present at Leander’s death, 20 years later she is a performer with the symphony that travels the post apocalyptic world. This coincidences and synchronicities are the structure of the book and is a thing of beauty to see how well Emily St John Mandel has constructed this novel.
This is a meditation of our now through apocalips, a celebration of the everyday miracles of modern life, like electric lights, planes, the internet, medicine and all the other things and comforts we take for granted. A remembrance of things not past but ignored because we have them. But it is also a reminder of how stars use to light up the sky, and how the the world was wild and beautiful but unforgiving.
Took a while to get into this as it jumped forwards and back in time but then I suddenly realised I was drawn in and just enjoyed the journey - until it suddenly, without warning, abruptly ended. I usually check how far along I am intermittently but guessed I was about 2/3 through so when out of the blue I heard "this was station eleven, an audible production" I was shocked.
Feels a bit of an anticlimax now and I'm disappointed, despite it being pretty good until then!
Other than that, the narrator was generally good, a bit monotone and dreary when over-trying to create an atmosphere but he also perked up at other points and gave life to the characters.
I'd recommend to friends and family, tell them to persevere through the beginning as the bulk of the story is great and it does all come together nicely to make sense - then be sure to concentrate at the end, ready for a quick finish!
Say something about yourself!
Well not actually the end of the world, but the end as we know it. In my opinion Emily St. John Mantel writes about a terrifying (and yet wonderful and exciting* in its way) scenario brilliantly. The main characters - who's lives, past and present are intertwined in a series of flash backs and flash forwards - are well portrayed - and I cared about them. For once, an author who writes about "what if" as I think it really might be. Who considers the thoughts and feelings of people caught up in an event as huge as this. Initially numbed and shocked, but later somewhat desensitized. Well thought out consequences from the end of civilization as we recognize it. There are no zombies and only a little scary tension but this stands as one of my favorite books in the post apocalypse genre. Excellent!
I'd love more in this genre from Emily St.JM because she captures it so well.
Jack Hawkins' narration really is excellent - so much so I've started digging around to see what else he has been involved with.
* - As a bit of a misanthrope who despairs at what I see as the overpopulation of Earth by mostly uncaring mankind - at huge cost to the natural world and environment - there IS something uplifting at the idea of a planet with a tiny fraction of our previous numbers. I'm conveniently ignoring the suffering which took place to make the transition to that point.
It all starts with a single death, that of an aging, but much revered, actor, on stage during his performance of King Lear.it was a stroke or heart attack - natural causes, anyway. But behind the scenes a pandemic is growing, within weeks weeping away almost the entire population of the world. We are spared the gruesome telling of the deaths. Instead, the author weaves an intricate tapestry of lives before and after the depopulation event of people who at some point touched that of the actor, some intimately and others for only a few moments.
This is an apocalyptic story like no other I have read. No zombies for a start. And almost without the graphic scenes of violence such a book would leave us to expect. Instead it is full of tensions, excitement, memories, friendships and fears of losing ones much loved. Of survival, too, and of hopes, dreams and a comic book. Because survival alone is not enough.
This is a book which makes us aware of what we have and what could all be lost, what we value most, what we leave undone. And how, even in the worst of situations not only can still more be taken away but that there is also hope and comfort in the little things so easily overlooked in this, our present world of plenty.
A wonderful book, beautifully written, skilfully crafted and achingly memorable, all perfectly narrated by Jack Hawkins. As with the novel, I cannot praise his performance more highly.
I loved the idea of this book and it lived up to my hopes for it. The time shifts meant it was always fresh. Full of menace throughout but ultimately uplifting.
This could only have been written by a woman. A man would have focused on the mechanics......where did the virus come from, how was it spread, the minutiae of survival etc. this is simply wonderful, the nuances, the wY tiny things resonate across time and people, the invisible connections that are slowly revealed. This story has been crafted, not written. And the reading is spot on. Tempting it must have been to have an American what is after all an American novel. But the story is told so beautifully and the vocal dissonance makes this a story about all of us - maybe. Buy it, read it!
Loved it. Brilliant character development, interesting discussion of humanity and a reminder of the many things we take for granted in the modern world. Really well read too, which I've realised makes a huge difference to an audio book.
The story describes life both before and after the georgia flu - a virus that wipes out life as we know it. This is where my opinion divides. The author describes modern life and all its trappings well, and I could really feel the fear of watching the world descend into chaos and then emptiness.
In contrast to this, the characters in the post apocalyptic story never really drew me in. The running themes that link the old and new world seem promising at first, but in the end it all just fizzles out.
I was positively surprised by Station Eleven. I expected the story to be more like one of those apocalyptic tales: humanity ceases but some survive and found a new civilisation out in space. Station Eleven is nothing like that. The story follows a hand full of survivors back and forth in time and how they cope with the burdens of life before, during and after the outbreak. The pandemic however isn't the main subject, it's just a circumstance.
I quite enjoyed the narration too, Jack Hawking has done a good job there.
This was skillfully, sympathetically and unobtrusively narrated. So far as the story is concerned, it was curiously comforting to hear the characters longing for aspects of the material fabric of our current daily lives. The story does not have much suspense and it does not have much philosophy, so it was rather undemanding but the scenario it is based upon, while not a new idea, was thought-provoking.
Compelling and thought provoking
I really enjoyed it and will probably listen again at some stage.
"Dullest apocalypse ever"
Nothing new here from post outbreak reimaginings of recent films. I'm disappointed with this esp as it made top ten lists of 2014.
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