Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Kirsten was a child actress in the days before the collapse. She was performing in King Lear, a non-speaking role as a younger version of Cordelia, when the famous actor playing Lear died of a heart attack at the beginning of the fourth act. We pick up her story years later. Kirsten is now a member of the Traveling Symphony going from town to town and performing Shakespeare and orchestral pieces on alternating nights. Since the Georgian Flu hit electricity, order and gasoline are non-existent. Survival is foremost on everyone’s minds, but it is now a time when surviving may not be enough. Or as the lead caravan of the Symphony reads: Survival is insufficient. (And yes, that was quoted from Star Trek, a member of the Symphony was a huge fan.)
Probably not the most comforting read with Ebola and enterovirus being so prominent in the news these days, but at least these diseases don’t have the over 99% causality rate of the Georgian Flu in Station Eleven. This is a story telling of the moments before and the years after everything changed. How life is becoming the new normal and how it’s not all bad. And there is one heck of a glimmer of light at the end to leave you with some hope, unlike many “the world has ended” books.
This is also an amazingly well crafted book to be slowly savored. Characters reoccur and their storylines tie in together in ways you can’t predict and don’t see coming. What is Station Eleven? Well, it has nothing and yet EVERYTHING to do with the story. You’ll just have to read it to find out.