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Station Eleven (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

"Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. Crisscrossing through time, the novel intermingles the narratives of a small group of people before and after a civilization destroying flu outbreak. Showing how ephemeral our present day culture and relationships are, Station Eleven is the perfect novel for fans of the films of Sophia Coppola. RIYL: The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger."

— Joe T.

"A fantastic apocalyptic tale that is as much about the characters as the disaster. On the eve of a flu pandemic, actor Arthur Leander dies onstage. His story is unfolded as St. John Mandel weaves together his family and acquaintances. Time flows between past, present, and future as she explores art, survival, and ultimately, human connection."

— Consuelo

"The death of an actor on stage heralds the end of society as we know it in this eloquent and beautifully written novel. The connections that are made in the story transcend the collapse and illustrate how the most innocuous things can have significant value. The Traveling Symphony is a troupe of musicians and actors who travel the land entertaining isolated villages and among their number exist some who were around at the death of the actor, who remember a time when things were different; one keeps a copy of the unique graphic novel that the actor's first wife created, an illustrated note of hope that resonates with all the characters in unexpected ways."

— Raul

"I didn't want this book to end! Emily St. John Mandel has created an entirely plausible apocalypse and placed her fully realized characters right at the center of it. She effortlessly winds their seemingly unrelated stories together - I wasn't ready to say good-bye to her characters. It's a post-apocalyptic novel with heart." 

— Elizabeth


2014 National Book Award Finalist

A New York Times Bestseller

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.

About the Author

Emily St. John Mandel was born in British Columbia, Canada. She is the author of three previous novels--Last Night in Montreal, The Singer's Gun, and The Lola Quartet--all of which were Indie Next picks. She is a staff writer for The Millions, and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2013 and Venice Noir. She lives in New York City with her husband.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780385353304
ISBN-10: 0385353308
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Pages: 352
Language: English