Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Station Eleven-Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven-Emily St. John Mandel
the facts
satisfaction: side/up
pages: 333
gender: F
nationality: Canada
year: 2014
novel
So an airborne disease has hit the world and a group of travelers become stranded at an airport in Canada. The world comes to an end but they are still alive, making a new world order for themselves without forgetting the old.

Most apocalyptic fiction has a massive, usually explosive or excessively communicated, event that triggers the apocalypse. Mandel avoids this for a much more realistic (at least for this regular transatlantic traveler) apocalypse. There's no gore, no high paced, but instead the apocalypse is rendered slowly and through the interactions of what are actually strangers who, by chance, get thrown together in a situation where it's safer to stay put...at an airport. There's some wry humor poked at travel which I particularly enjoyed, having spent endless hours in airports. Then the novel gets really beautiful, demonstrating that the world is small no matter what happens and so everything and everyone is connected. As the novel progresses, the apocalypse becomes myth, our world survives in dribs and drabs of misinformation and distant memory. My side arrow comes from a bit of a twee quality that creeps in sometimes-perhaps it was the flashbacks to our world which were somewhat unnecessary or perhaps Mandel sometimes verged upon the over-melancholic. This is off-set by the way Mandel has the plane that landed and kept quarantine haunt my mind. 
Ignore the instinctual resistance to the hype machine and read it anyway because this is a lovely book.

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