Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
After a virus causes a worldwide collapse, some of the survivors form a traveling symphony and theater troupe. Moving between small settlements in middle-America, these musicians and actors make their living bringing some semblance of culture to a dystopian world because as their motto states “Survival is Insufficient.” Weaving the pre and post-virus stories of several different characters together, Ms. Mandel creates an unnerving and fraught world. Usually, Dori and I have similar thoughts on the books we read, but Station Eleven was an anomaly. It left Dori a little uneasy and frustrated but she admitted it was compelling. She found the plot and world lacking in details and also wanted a clearer philosophy tying the book together whereas I found the open-ended tone to be refreshing. I liked the character development and how the seemingly different characters’ stories connected. Both of us did agree that Ms. Mandel’s writing had a darkly lyrical quality which made for some beautiful prose. I recommend Station Eleven for its haunting yet hopeful look a post-apocalyptic culture.