Normal view MARC view ISBD view

Station eleven / Emily St. John Mandel.

By: Mandel, Emily St. John, 1979-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Picador, 2014Copyright date: ©2014Description: 333 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781447268987 (pbk).Subject(s): Actors -- FictionDDC classification: 813/.6 Summary: One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
List(s) this item appears in: Handmaid's Tale Reading List Fiction notes: Click to open in new window
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode Item reserves
Default St Albans Library (DIY)
Fiction MAND Available IA0517840
Default Sunshine Library (DIY)
Fiction MAND Available IA0517833
Total reserves: 0

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Jeevan's understanding of disaster preparedness was based entirely on action movies, but on the other hand, he'd seen a lot of action movies. He started with water, filled one of the oversized shopping carts with as many cases and bottles as he could fit. There was a moment of doubt on the way to the cash registers, straining against the weight of the cart--was he overreacting?--but there was a certain momentum now, too late to turn back. The clerk raised an eyebrow but said nothing.  "I'm parked just outside," he said. "I'll bring the cart back." The clerk nodded, tired. She was young, early twenties probably, with dark bangs that she kept pushing out of her eyes. He forced the impossibly heavy cart outside and half-pushed, half-skidded through the snow at the exit. There was a long ramp down into a small park-like arrangement of benches and planters. The cart gained speed on the incline, bogged down in deep snow at the bottom of the ramp and slid sideways into a planter. It was eleven twenty. The supermarket closed in forty minutes. He was imagining how long it would take to bring the cart up to Frank's apartment, to unload it, the time required for tedious explanations and reassurances of sanity before he could return to the grocery store for more supplies. Could there be any harm in leaving the cart here for the moment? There was no one on the street. He called Hua on his way back into the store.  "What's happening now?" He moved quickly through the store while Hua spoke. Another case of water--Jeevan was under the impression that one can never have too much--and then cans and cans of food, all the tuna and beans and soup on the shelf, pasta, anything that looked like it might last a while. The hospital was full of flu patients and the situation was identical at the other hospitals in the city. The ambulance service was overwhelmed. Thirty-seven patients had died now, including every patient who'd been on the Moscow flight and two E.R. nurses who'd been on duty when the first patients came in. The shopping cart was almost unmanageably heavy. Hua said he'd called his wife and told her to take the kids and leave the city tonight, but not by airplane. Jeevan was standing by the cash register again, the clerk scanning his cans and packages. The part of the evening that had transpired in the Elgin Theatre seemed like possibly a different lifetime. The clerk was moving very slowly. Jeevan passed her a credit card and she scrutinized it as though she hadn't just seen it five or ten minutes ago.  "Take Laura and your brother," Hua said, "and leave the city tonight."   "I can't leave the city tonight, not with my brother. I can't rent a wheelchair van at this hour."  In response there was only a muffled sound. Hua was coughing.   "Are you sick?" Jeevan was pushing the cart toward the door.  "Goodnight, Jeevan." Hua disconnected and Jeevan was alone in the snow. He felt possessed. The next cart was all toilet paper. The cart after that was more canned goods, also frozen meat and aspirin, garbage bags, bleach, duct tape.  "I work for a charity," he said to the girl behind the cash register, his third or fourth time through, but she wasn't paying much attention to him. She kept glancing up at the small television above the film development counter, ringing his items through on autopilot. Jeevan called Laura on his sixth trip through the store, but his call went to voicemail.  "Laura," he began. "Laura." He thought it better to speak to her directly and it was already almost eleven fifty, there wasn't time for this. Filling the cart with more food, moving quickly through this bread-and-flower-scented world, this almost-gone place, thinking of Frank in his 22nd floor apartment, high up in the snowstorm with his insomnia and his book project, his day-old New York Times and his Beethoven. Jeevan wanted desperately to reach him. He decided to call Laura later, changed his mind and called the home line while he was standing by the checkout counter, mostly because he didn't want to make eye contact with the clerk.   "Jeevan, where are you?" She sounded slightly accusatory. He handed over his credit card.   "Are you watching the news?"   "Should I be?" "There's a flu epidemic, Laura. It's serious." "That thing in Russia or wherever? I knew about that." "It's here now. It's worse than we'd thought. I've just been talking to Hua. You have to leave the city." He glanced up in time to see the look the checkout girl gave him. " Have to? What? Where are you, Jeevan?" He was signing his name on the slip, struggling with the cart toward the exit, where the order of the store ended and the frenzy of the storm began. It was difficult to steer the cart with one hand. There were already five carts parked haphazardly between benches and planters, dusted now with snow. "Just turn on the news, Laura." "You know I don't like to watch the news before bed. Are you having an anxiety attack?" "What? No. I'm going to my brother's place to make sure he's okay." "Why wouldn't he be?" "You're not even listening. You never listen to me." Jeevan knew this was probably a petty thing to say in the face of a probable flu pandemic, but couldn't resist. He plowed the cart into the others and dashed back into the store. "I can't believe you left me at the theatre," he said. "You just left me at the theatre performing CPR on a dead actor." "Jeevan, tell me where you are." "I'm in a grocery store." It was eleven fifty-five. This last cart was all grace items: vegetables, fruit, bags of oranges and lemons, tea, coffee, crackers, salt, preserved cakes. "Look, Laura, I don't want to argue. This flu's serious, and it's fast."  "What's fast?" "This flu, Laura. It's really fast. Hua told me. It's spreading so quickly. I think you should get out of the city." At the last moment, he added a bouquet of daffodils.             Excerpted from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Starred Review. With an all too realistic and timely premise, Mandel's (The Lola Quartet) newest tells the story of the survivors of a worldwide pandemic that kills 99.9 percent of the population. Jumping around in time, from well before the pandemic to 20 years after, this elegant tale will linger with the listener. The main characters are all somehow connected to renowned actor Arthur Leander, who dies onstage while performing King Lear at the opening of the book. The individual stories of violence and hope flow together and create a memorable tale that is greater than the individual parts. It's a rare thing a tale about the end of civilization that leaves the reader in a positive, hopeful mood. Kristen Potter demonstrates her talent in voicing the wide range of characters, ages, and accents. VERDICT Recommended for fans of literary dystopian novels. ["This is a brilliantly constructed, highly literary, postapocalyptic page-turner and should be a breakout novel for Mandel," raved the starred review of the Knopf hc, LJ 9/1/14.] Donna Bachowski, Orange Cty. Lib. Syst., Orlando, FL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Few themes are as played-out as that of post-apocalypse, but St. John Mandel (The Lola Quartet) finds a unique point of departure from which to examine civilization's wreckage, beginning with a performance of King Lear cut short by the onstage death of its lead, Arthur Leander, from an apparent heart attack. On hand are an aspiring paramedic, Jeevan Chaudary, and a young actress, Kirsten Raymonde; Leander's is only the first death they will witness, as a pandemic, the so-called Georgia Flu, quickly wipes out all but a few pockets of civilization. Twenty years later, Kirsten, now a member of a musical theater troupe, travels through a wasteland inhabited by a dangerous prophet and his followers. Guided only by the graphic novel called Station Eleven given to her by Leander before his death, she sets off on an arduous journey toward the Museum of Civilization, which is housed in a disused airport terminal. Kirsten is not the only survivor with a curious link to the actor: the story explores Jeevan's past as an entertainment journalist and, in a series of flashbacks, his role in Leander's decline. Also joining the cast are Leander's first wife, Miranda, who is the artist behind Station Eleven, and his best friend, 70-year-old Clark Thompson, who tends to the terminal settlement Kirsten is seeking. With its wild fusion of celebrity gossip and grim future, this book shouldn't work nearly so well, but St. John Mandel's examination of the connections between individuals with disparate destinies makes a case for the worth of even a single life. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Mandel's (The Lola Quartet, 2012) ambitious, magnificent fourth novel examines the collapse of civilization after a deadly flu wipes out most of the world's population. Moving gracefully from the first days of the plague to years before it and decades after, Mandel anchors the story to Arthur Leander, a famous actor who dies of a heart attack while playing King Lear on stage. We see glimpses of Arthur's life years before his passing: his doomed relationship with his first wife, the exploitation of an old friendship, his failings as a father. And then we follow characters whose lives Arthur touched in some way: the paramedic who tried to save him, his second ex-wife and their damaged son, the child actress who joins a traveling theater troupe-cum-orchestra. In this postpandemic time, people live in gas stations and motels, curate museums filled with cell phones and car engines, and treasure tabloids and comic books. One comic book gives the novel its title and encapsulates the longing felt by the survivors for the world they have lost.Mandel's vision is not only achingly beautiful but also startlingly plausible, exposing the fragile beauty of the world we inhabit. In the burgeoning postapocalyptic literary genre, Mandel's transcendent, haunting novel deserves a place alongside The Road (2006), The Passage (2010), and The Dog Stars (2012).--Huntley, Kristine Copyright 2014 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Survivors and victims of a pandemic populate this quietly ambitious take on a post-apocalyptic world where some strive to preserve art, culture and kindness.In her fourth novel, Mandel (The Lola Quartet, 2012, etc.) moves away from the literary thriller form of her previous books but keeps much of the intrigue. The story concerns the before and after of a catastrophic virus called the Georgia Flu that wipes out most of the worlds population. On one side of the timeline are the survivors, mainly a traveling troupe of musicians and actors and a stationary group stuck for years in an airport. On the other is a professional actor, who dies in the opening pages while performing King Lear, his ex-wives and his oldest friend, glimpsed in flashbacks. Theres also the mana paparazzo-turned-paramedicwho runs to the stage from the audience to try to revive him, a Samaritan role he will play again in later years. Mandel is effectively spare in her depiction of both the tough hand-to-mouth existence of a devastated world and the almost unchallenged life of the celebritythink of Cormac McCarthy seesawing with Joan Didion. The intrigue arises when the troupe is threatened by a cult and breaks into disparate offshoots struggling toward a common haven. Woven through these little odysseys, and cunningly linking the cushy past and the perilous present, is a figure called the Prophet. Indeed, Mandel spins a satisfying web of coincidence and kismet while providing numerous strong moments, as when one of the last planes lands at the airport and seals its doors in self-imposed quarantine, standing for days on the tarmac as those outside try not to ponder the nightmare within. Another strand of that web is a well-traveled copy of a sci-fi graphic novel drawn by the actors first wife, depicting a space station seeking a new home after aliens take over Eartha different sort of artist also pondering mans fate and future.Mandels solid writing and magnetic narrative make for a strong combination in what should be a breakout novel. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Powered by Koha