Saturday, January 31, 2015

Station Eleven

Station Eleven
by  Emily St. John Mandel

Genre:  Science fiction; Suspense; Dystopia
Publisher: Random House Audio on 
09 September 2014
Reading with my ears:  Unabridged 
10 hours 49 minutes
Narrator:  Kirsten Potter
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.
Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.
Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
My thoughts:
I loved this one.
"Survival is insufficient".

Star Trek: Voyager

The story revolves around characters that were connected to Arthur Leander, an actor who's fame was starting to faze out.  Arthurs dies on stage in the opening scenes of the book but he is the centre of this story.  Almost everyone in the story can be traced back to him in one way or another.

On the night Arthur dies, a terrible flu starts to erase life as we know it.   And civilisation dies.

Through flash backs we get to know Arthur, his friends and his ex-wives.  His first wife, Miranda, created a comic book called Station Eleven.  This comic becomes a favourite escape for Kirsten, twenty years after it was given to her by Arthur when she was a little girl in the King Lear production he dies in.  

We do not get a lot of the epidemic and it's effects (the parts that I always love), this is more about the people and their relationships with each other almost twenty years after.  It is all about how the past and actions taken then can impact today.

Another great narrator that added to my enjoyment of the book.

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