“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel:
The collapse of civilization, a dystopian world, a possible future. It has been thought of in many variations before. I nevertheless liked this one because it focuses, over the course of 20 years, on the fate of a few handful of people, bound inextricably together by their relation to a dying actor and a futuristic graphic novel. Arthur’s death at 51, taking place on stage in a production of King Lear, sets in motion a fast-paced narrative. From this moment on we follow the lives of everyone closely related to him or only marginally involved in the production. Now the virus hits.
The novel tells of a pandemic which erases almost all of mankind from the surface of this world and forces the few survivors to come to terms with the loss of civilization as we know it, with all its wondrous, marvelous achievements like the internet, electricity, air planes or mobile phones. Now survivalism is asked for and adaption to a perilous life to make it to the next day. The greatest, most dangerous enemy is, one is not surprised, man himself, the neighbour, a wanderer, a stranger.
The prose is good, the story full of suspense, the pace is quick and many surprises pop up.
The end, although dystopian, offers a shimmer of hope that, although all has been lost mankind might still have a future.
A good tale, entertaining and thoughtfully worked out, that never gets boring and always has a focus on life, relations, existence and the importance of art. I liked it.
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