Book Review: Station Eleven

This month I was able to sneak in a few more books and finally got to read Station Eleven a novel by Emily St. John Mandel.  I literally just put it down and now wish I had talked my book club into reading it. The story revolves around three main characters and their lives right before and then after the collapse of the world from the Georgian Flu, an epidemic that wipes out 99% of the population.  It is set in current time and when the flu sweeps through the world there is no more electricity, internet, running water, gasoline and/ or any infrastructure.  What fascinated me was Ms. Mandel’s take on how these people lived in this new order and why she chose the path she did for them.  I am curious what my book group would think and know it would be a fascinating discussion.

Spoiler Alert… do not read below the book image if you do not want to know any more..



Station Eleven | Emily St. John Mandel

What surprised me is that the people who survived were living like vagabonds in a world that had homes, offices, buildings, schools, libraries, and stores.  Think of all the clothes, food, supplies and products in all those places. And then how we are lead to believe that all of that is looted and trashed by the surviving 1%. I know it is fiction and the authors interpretation of what she felt would happen, but I couldn’t realistically believe that even if the world ended people, who lived with so many amenities, would not gravitate to recreating it in their “new world”.  For one character, it seemed that fear of the unknown and a sense of security made the approximately 250 people he was stranded with make the terminal of an airport their home for 20 years.  I can’t understand why they wouldn’t have walked down the road to the local town and lived in the abandoned homes, used the school and facilities, while still maintaining a secure and successful environment.  I feel like people living in the 1700’s were more sophisticated and adventurous in an unknown world than these people in 2020.

I would give the book a 4 out of 5 stars because I was taken with the story and, while I didn’t love all the ins and outs of the characters, I was intrigued by the events and how it unfolded. Not to mention, when I finished the book I had a lot I wanted to talk about. Have you read Station Eleven?  What do you think?  Am I over thinking the details and I should take it for what it is?  Please share your thoughts in the comments – I am interested to hear what you think.


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  1. kathleen cowan says:

    thought you might find it interesting, our oldest will be a freshman at SMU in the Fall. “Station Eleven” is required reading for all incoming students….I recently read it and found I kept finding myself frustrated with the characters and their actions or inactions…

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