Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (audiobook)

genre: adult fiction

It's hard to imagine what such a day would be like - the day when you realize that the way you've always been able to live is done.  That the high-speed, small-world, convience-ready world you've grown up in has shuttered to a halt.  But when a flu explodes on our planet and the majority of human life dies in an incredibly short period, there really isn't any other choice but to believe it.  What will be left of us, when most of us die? What will the survivors choose to keep and remember, sustaining if they can, and what will become the stuff of legend and myth?

I loved how this book answered that question.

While sometimes it meandered a bit much - it gets four stars from me instead of five because sometimes it just moved a little too slow - there was also a lot to appreciate from this story.  I really liked that it was so character driven, we follow several different characters from pre-flu life into post-flu life and the things they remember and learn and experience are essentially the plot of the book, if you can call that a plot. There is a LOT of flipping back and forth in time, which could get obnoxious if that bothers you.  Once I got used to it, I really liked seeing where people connected, where small moments ended up mattering so much in a future world that no one could imagine.  I liked Station Eleven as a plot device (no spoilers from me :) but I think what I liked most was the fact that it really made me think about what I take for granted.  It really made me think about if all the "modern" of my life fell away and I had to someday teach my grandchildren about what my own experience was like, what would matter enough to share?  What ideas are so thoroughly foreign and useless in an essentially medieval world that it only makes you sad to remember it?  Very interesting food for thought.

This isn't an action story. It's a meandering look at a world that is so easy to believe could be real.  It's a deep and hard look at beauty and creating and finding what is worth surviving for.  The art-and-theater-and-museum lover in me really appreciated that theme.   A great listen.

note: if you're interested in the content of the books I read, please go to http://ratedreads.com

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