In 2015 my goal is to read 52 books: that’s one book for every week of the year. I have done this before and it’s not too much of a stretch considering the fact I tend to spend a lot of my time with a nose in a book, but this year I have been even more book-obsessed than usual.
That’s saying something, believe me.
I’ve already finished the goal and I’m on my 54th book at the time of writing, so I thought it would be fun to start of my regular weekly book post with a review of one of those. You’ll see me share a book every week now, and the first one is the best I’ve read out of all those 54 creations.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
It is difficult to review a book I love as much as this one because it is tempting to fill the screen with key-smashes and gifs, but I will do my best.
Station Eleven is a rare story indeed. It is haunting and ethereal yet firmly rooted in the world around us. The characters are complex and their morality is not black and white. The world is falling to pieces and yet Emily St. John Mandel paints it as a spectacular place, somewhere you wouldn’t want to be but maybe you would want to spend a dream or two there.
An influenza virus of startling strength and speed kills almost all of the world’s population. We see the story from three main points: before the virus, during the worst of the virus, and a couple of decades after it. In the future we see a band of travelling performers bringing music and theatre to the destitute remains of the human population, all pushed on by a Star Trek Voyager quote: survival is insufficient. What a beautiful concept in its tragedy, because nothing is easy for those left behind and they still try to create a better world.
Station Eleven refers to a graphic novel mentioned many times throughout the story, though I won’t tell you much about that. The way that story weaves into the book itself adds even more layers to an already sublime tale.
Yes, this book jumps from one time to another and back again with little regard for linear progression, but it works. It really does. Every time a chapter jumps into a different time, the scene pushes the entire plot forward and gives you a new understanding of that which you’ve read before. By the end I had goose-bumps and tears in my eyes.
It doesn’t matter if you like apocalyptic fiction or hints of science fiction (though it is fiction too within the book’s universe), you should give this book a go. It is a true delight.