Station Eleven: post-apocalyptic Shakespearean theatre for the soul

stationelevenOh my. I’d heard a lot of good things about Station Eleven, but I was still bowled over by the understated elegance and resonance of the text itself. It strikes me as one of those stories that underwhelms in synopsis (and in retrospect, the cover blurb is slightly misleading, as it tries to intimate action that never really takes place). So I’m going to say as little as possible other than read it.

20 years after the Georgia Flu ends the world, a young woman travels Michigan with an itinerant group of actors and musicians. Her encounters on the road in Year Twenty are contrasted with flashbacks to the lives of a small group of others connected by a dead actor in the years before the Flu, providing a beautiful, stark reflection on modern life and what meaning we can find in it.

This is literary apocalypse, and it leaves me on the edge of tears. Easily the best and most satisfying novel of the year to date, for me. Those seeking high-action post-apocalyptic adventure will be disappointed. Those who love a good book on humanity and human relationships need not be put off by it’s post-apocalyptic premise.


Cautionary note: if you don’t immediately recognise the reference to the post-apocalyptic vampire novel mentioned in the text and you enjoy that sort of thing, don’t read the Afterword unless you actively want to know what book they’re talking about. I’ve just accidentally spoiled myself for one of the books on my reading list, which I didn’t know was a vampire novel.