Survival is Insufficient: Station Eleven Review


Graphic by Nathan Johnson and Daniel Fendel

Reporter Emily Flanders reviews the novel Station Eleven

Emily Flanders, Reporter

Station Eleven is a fictional novel about the events that occur leading up to, during, and after the fall of civilization, focusing on the continued use of art forms. Actors, musicians, and other persons devoted to keeping art alive in a crumbling world journey in a troupe they call ‘The Traveling Symphony’. The way the author, Emily St. John Mandel, depicts a dying world doesn’t make you fear for the end, but rather shows you how to keep a hopeful outlook on life. The story gracefully moves back and forth through time, showing different perspectives during the varying stages of humanity’s downfall.

There are six major characters throughout the story, connected in ways that you might not realize until later on. As the stage is set in the first scene, you meet Arthur Leander, a famous actor who dies on stage of the Georgia Flu. This flu is the pandemic that slowly begins to wipe out civilization. All four of the other major characters are directly involved with some part of Arthur’s life, be it his wife, his best friend, a paparazzo, or his young coworker. I really enjoyed the way all of the perspectives intertwined both intricately and elegantly through the entire book.

This novel is a beautifully written tribute to what gives life hope at times of great despair. Once you begin reading, you won’t want to put it down until it’s over. Then you’ll wish there was a second one. St. John Mandel is a creative and fearless writer who was able to capture a different perspective of a dystopian world. While reading Station Eleven, the pages flew by until they turned into chapters. The way St. John Mandel effortlessly made each word flow across the page is something to applaud. This is, without doubt, one of, if not the best books that I’ve read in awhile.

I would definitely recommend reading this novel in your free time, however much of it you have. The imagination and originality that Station Eleven portrays is amazing and I commend St. John Mandel for dreaming it up. It has the perfect mix of suspense, romance, violence, and hope. The further I read, the more I gained a greater appreciation for art forms such as music, painting, and theatre. I was also able to gain a better admiration for this beautiful thing we call life.