Finally, it is time to discuss Station Eleven! I have been waiting for this day, pretty much since I started the book, because it was that good. At least, I thought so! There was a lot of hype surrounding this novel, and for good reason. It was a quick read for me, as most books of this nature are. The excitement of the end of the world stigma always intrigues me, and I read and read, having to find out what's going to happen next. Just a heads up before I get into the discussion, there will be spoilers. Now onto the discussion!
To start off, I'd like to admire the story structure of the book, the way it flows. Flashbacks can sometimes be annoying when you are just trying to see what's going to happen, but they are essential for this story. They give reason to all of the characters connections. Even at the very end of the book, when the Prophet and Kirsten are realizing they have a connection with the comics, the flashbacks provide sense to the situation. It's because of all of the flashback tie-ins that I had already made the assumption that the prophet was Tyler, who else would have known enough about Miranda to name their dog Luli? This just made it that much more exciting to finish the story, to see when Clark and Kirsten would make that connection.
The characters themselves are another great aspect of the novel. First, I loved that the characters, in their present day settings, were all adults. With so many post apocalyptic novels, the characters are in their teens. It was very refreshing to have this story play out with characters as old as 70. Second, it was a strong idea to have all of their relationships range from romantic to protective friends. It made them seem more real, like these were people who you could meet on the street.
It was with this realism that I really embraced the book. From the start, everything that happened with the virus, like the fact that it doesn't turn people into zombies, vampires, or scary rabid things (I Am Legend), was a relief. When people just passed after a couple of days, it made me think about how this would be ideal if the world were going to end. Nothing scary or gross, just simple, real, plausible death. Could it happen? Sure, but a lot of things could always happen, so I don't usually dwell on that. Everyone's reactions to what was happening also seemed honest. From Kirsten sticking with her brother, to Clark building his museum and a new life itself in the airport, they all seemed like the most humane and reasonable ways to handle that situation. Of course, there were those like the Prophet who took new civilization to the extreme, but that also makes it more real. If this were to happen, you know there would be those people who would take advantage of it and turn life sinister. I think though, that mostly people would just try to preserve humanity, like Clark and Kirsten. It would be all you have left, and I think the ending shows that well. The Traveling Symphony just gets on with their decades long tour, and everything remains the same at the Airport. For me, that's what this book was all about. Getting on with life after it pretty much ceases to exist.
Of course, for this discussion, feel free to let me know your thoughts on Station Eleven. I truly enjoyed it and would love to know if you did too! Next month's book selection will be posted in early December, so check back around then if you love reading as much as I do!