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Review: Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)

Rating: 4 Pfoten


”What’s going on?”
“I don’t know, Jeevan. That’s the short answer. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a flu, that much is obvious, but I’ve never seen anything like it. It is so fast. It just seems to spread so quickly –“

This is one of the rare times I’m actually searching for the right words and if you know me, you know that this doesn’t happen all too often. *lol* To describe this book is kind of hard though so bear with me when I don’t always manage to convey my thoughts and feelings. It’s not easy with a book like “Station Eleven” because it’s so unlike any other post-apocalyptic book I ever read.

Sure, it begins with the Georgia Flu that wipes out about 90% of humankind, but unlike other books it doesn’t focus on the illness, but rather on the lives of the few people who survived it. AND it centres on the life of Arthur Leander, an actor who died on stage shortly before the flu broke out.

”This is my soul and the world unwinding, this is my heart in the still winter air.”

The narration of this book is kind of complicated because it doesn’t only jump between different POVs but also alternates between different timelines. There’s the one after the Georgia flu and there’s the one before the flu. The one that tells the story of a man who lives in our modern world. A world with electricity, running water, i-phones, divorces and tv screens, a world with medicine and airplanes. A world in which everything is still possible and in which everyone takes everything for granted.

”What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

This sentence stuck with me, because it explains the book and the characters that live in it so well. If you lived in our world, if you were a child and got a taste of it, you remember what it used to be and how easy everything was. Can you imagine a world without the internet? Without flushing toilets and electricity? Without supermarkets that provide you with food? Well, once you know this comfort it’s kind of hard to live without it. Believe me and take the word of a person who’s been at plenty of music festivals that went on for four days and nights. *lol* I know what I’m talking about. ;-P

”Beneath the fury was something literally unspeakable, the television news carrying an implication that no one could yet bring themselves to consider. It was possible to comprehend the scope of the outbreak, but it wasn’t possible to comprehend what it meant.”

This book is not about the Georgia flu and it’s outbreak, no, it’s about people and their lives before and after “the unspeakable” happened. There are items that connect those people throughout the course of those years and I really loved that aspect of the book. It gave me comfort, it gave me hope. Just to know that the past wasn’t forgotten, that a simple paperweight and the “Station Eleven” comic books survived and were passed on. That some of those characters actually remembered!

”First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

Kirsten Raymond, Jeevan, Arthur Leander, Miranda, Elizabeth, Clarke and Tyler. They are all connected with each other, they just don’t know it. Their lives are interwoven, in the past, the present and the future and no matter if they are unaware of it or not, a little part of them continues to live on. The experiences they made, the past they shared, the effects of it on their future, it’s one big cycle and it’s their story to tell…

“Station Eleven” is an intricate and interwoven piece of literature that makes you not only think about the things you lost and left behind but also inevitably forces you to gaze at everything that lies in the future ahead of you. It gives you hope and when everything is said and done, when your world turns dark and lonely, it’s exactly this kind of hope that helps you to carry on.

„Survival is insufficient.“

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