Bookish’s March Read: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

By Melinda Guerra

No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. no more avatars.  – page 32

StationElevenNorthAmericaHiResEmily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is a hopeful book and with terribly pretty prose set in a post-pandemic world.

The novel opens at the beginning of a flu pandemic which quickly wipes out most of the world, and it introduces us to a cast of characters connected by thin threads, all trying (with varying degrees of success) to stay alive.  It’s hard to say the book is about any one thing; it is – in turn and, often, simultaneously – about love, loss, grief, culture, survival, beauty, philosophy, ugliness, and art.  For those who are interested in a more in-depth (but still spoiler-free) review, Fourth & Sycamore’s David Nilsen reviewed the book here in late 2014.

It may only be coincidence that the Zika Outbreak has spread to more than 20 countries, but it does make for a different kind of backdrop for enjoying a book that begins with a virus. If you enjoy post-pandemic novels, struggles for survival, and/or beautiful prose, you ought to pick up this book soon–it’s won several awards, and for good reason. If you read it in the next few weeks, you’re welcome to join us for our next Bookish meeting. As always, for details and to reserve your space, email me at gplbooks[at]gmail[dot]com.

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