Shortlisted for the 2014 National Book Awards
Observer Thriller of the Month
The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb.
News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
Civilization has crumbled.
A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe.
But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
Moving backwards and forwards in time, from the glittering years just before the collapse to the strange and altered world that exists twenty years after, Station Eleven charts the unexpected twists of fate that connect six people: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan - warned about the flu just in time; Arthur's first wife Miranda; Arthur's oldest friend Clark; Kirsten, a young actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed 'prophet'.
Thrilling, unique and deeply moving, Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven is a beautiful novel that asks questions about art and fame and about the relationships that sustain us through anything - even the end of the world.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 479 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 29 mm
Glorious, unexpected, superbly written; just try putting it down. The Times Once in a very long while a book becomes a brand new old friend, a story you never knew you always wanted. Station Eleven is that rare find that feels familiar and extraordinary at the same time, expertly weaving together future and present and past, death and life and Shakespeare. This is truly something special. -- Erin Morgenstern, author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS Visually stunning, dreamily atmospheric and impressively gripping ... Station Eleven is not so much about apocalypse as about memory and loss, nostalgia and yearning; the effort of art to deepen our fleeting impressions of the world and bolster our solitude. Guardian 'Station Eleven is so compelling, so fearlessly imagined, that I wouldn't have put it down for anything. I think this one is really going to go places.' -- Ann Patchett, author of BEL CANTO and STATE OF WONDER A beautiful and unsettling book, the action moves between the old and new world, drawing connections between the characters and their pasts and showing the sweetness of life as we know it now and the value of friendship, love and art over all the vehicles, screens and remote controls that have been rendered obsolete. Mandel's skill in portraying her post-apocalyptic world makes her fictional creation seem a terrifyingly real possibility. Apocalyptic stories once offered the reader a scary view of an alternative reality and the opportunity, on putting the book down, to look around gratefully at the real world. This is a book to make its reader mourn the life we still lead and the privileges we still enjoy. Sunday Express Station Eleven is a firework of a novel. Elegantly constructed and packed with explosive beauty, it's full of life and humanity and the aftershock of memory. -- Lauren Beukes, author of THE SHINING GIRLS There is no shortage of post-apocalyptic thrillers on the shelves these days, but Station Eleven is unusually haunting ... There is an understated, piercing nostalgia ... there is humour, amid the collapse ... and there is Mandel's marvellous creation, the Travelling Symphony, travelling from one scattered gathering of humanity to another ... There is also a satisfyingly circular mystery, as Mandel unveils neatly, satisfyingly, the links between her disparate characters ... This book will stay with its readers much longer than more run-of-the-mill thrillers. -- Alison Flood, Thriller of the Month Observer Station Eleven is a magnificent, compulsive novel that cleverly turns the notion of a "kinder, gentler time" on its head. And, oh, the pleasure of falling down the rabbit hole of Mandel's imagination - a dark, shimmering place rich in alarmingly real detail and peopled with such human, such very appealing characters. -- Liza Klaussmann, author of TIGERS IN RED WEATHER A genuinely unsettling dystopian novel that also allows for moments of great tenderness. Emily St. John Mandel conjures indelible visuals, and her writing is pure elegance. -- Patrick deWitt, author of THE SISTERS BROTHERS (shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize) An ambitious and addictive novel -- Sarah Hughes Guardian Possibly the most captivating and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic novel you will ever read ... Mandel truly creates a unique future - no battling for resources, but a Travelling Symphony of musicians and actors who go from settlement to settlement performing Shakespeare plays. Mandel's message is that civilisation - and just as importantly, art - will endure as long as there is life. She tells us that when humanity's back is against the wall, decency will emerge. Mandel has a beautiful writing style and the chapters preceding the apocalypse (the book jumps around in time) show an assured handle on human emotions and relationships, particularly those sequences involving Arthur Leander ... Though not without tension and a sense of horror, Station Eleven rises above the bleakness of the usual post-apocalyptic novels because its central concept is one so rarely offered in the genre - hope. Independent on Sunday Disturbing, inventive and exciting, Station Eleven left me wistful for a world where I still live. -- Jessie Burton, author of THE MINIATURIST A haunting tale of art and the apocalypse. Station Eleven is an unmissable experience. -- Samantha Shannon, author of THE BONE SEASON Station Eleven begins with a spectacular end. One night in a Toronto theater, onstage performing the role of King Lear, 51-year-old Arthur Leander has a fatal heart attack. There is barely time for people to absorb this shock when tragedy on a considerably vaster scale arrives in the form of a flu pandemic so lethal that, within weeks, most of the world's population has been killed ... Mandel is an exuberant storyteller ... Readers will be won over by her nimble interweaving of her characters' lives and fates ... Station Eleven is as much a mystery as it is a post-apocalyptic tale ... Mandel is especially good at planting clues and raising the kind of plot-thickening questions that keep the reader turning pages ... Station Eleven offers comfort and hope to those who believe, or want to believe, that doomsday can be survived, that in spite of everything people will remain good at heart, and when they start building a new world they will want what was best about the old. -- Sigrid Nunez New York Times Station Eleven is the kind of book that speaks to dozens of the readers in me - the Hollywood devotee, the comic book fan, the cult junkie, the love lover, the disaster tourist. It is a brilliant novel, and Emily St John Mandel is astonishing. -- Emma Straub, author of THE VACATIONERS and LAURA LAMONT'S LIFE IN PICTURES Emily St John Mandel is currently gathering lots of world-ending buzz with her new novel Station Eleven ... conjures up an eerie post-killer-flu future Grazia Speculative fiction ... of a decidedly literary bent Metro A novel that miraculously reads like equal parts page-turner and poem. One of her great feats is that the story feels spun rather than plotted, with seamless shifts in time and characters ... This is not a story of crisis and survival. It's one of art and family and memory and community and the awful courage it takes to look upon the world with fresh and hopeful eyes. Entertainment Weekly Ambitious, magnificent ... Mandel's vision is not only achingly beautiful but 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 Booklist This breathtaking highwire act argues theatre is primal - and instinct to tell and act out stories, to come together to experience art. Who wouldn't want to write novels about that? Big Issue An ambitious take on a post-apocalyptic world where some strive to preserve art, culture and kindness ... Think of Cormac McCarthy seesawing with Joan Didion ... Mandel spins a satisfying web of coincidence and kismet ... Magnetic ... A breakout novel. Kirkus (starred review) Station Eleven is a mesmerising and beautiful book that puts a unique spin on a familiar end-of-the-world scenario ... Like The Road, Mandel's novel makes you desperately glad for the world we live in. -- Mark Edwards, author of THE MAGPIES A theater troupe in a post-epidemic dystopia. Art and celebrity at the zenith of North American civilization and its nadir. Childhood and marriage and violence and comic books. Station Eleven is about all of these things, but none of them fully capture the magic of the book, which is one of the best I've read in a while ... It reminded me quite a bit of Kate Atkinson's fantastic Life After Life. And the plot, characters, writing-it's all fantastic, as well. honestly, I don't know what else to say except ... Buy, buy, buy. Seriously. Go pre-order it now. BookRiot Totally spellbinding ... Deftly switching between the time before and after the pandemic, the story reveals the fates of six compelling characters, whose lives are interlinked. Full of eerie suspense and surprises, this is a haunting, original novel that makes you consider what's truly valuable in life. Hello Magazine A beautifully written and compelling debut from Emily St John Mandel Good Housekeeping Magazine Mandel's strong storytelling ability sets Station Eleven apart ... Mandel fluidly switches between characters and time periods ... the result is a provocative tale of societal apocalypse that convincingly creates a disorientated reality, where humanity moves into an uncertain future on a planet littered with reminders of an imperfect past The List A deeply unsettling and well-crafted tale exploring human relationships in extreme circumstances -- Philippa Williams The Lady Strong storytelling and believable characters combine in this very human tale Bella Tremendous ... if you are looking for a novel you can just wallow in I'd pick Station Eleven up right now. -- Jane Garvey BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour Excellently written, Station Eleven is closer to Joyce than Orwell as it stealthily connects plots and people Sunday Times It's been a phenomenal year for escaping reality. Near impossible to pick a "best" novel, but the one I loved the most was probably Emily St John Mandel's beautifully unsettling Station Eleven -- Matt Haig Guardian books of the year A beautifully written, compulsive read. -- Lucy Kellaway, The FT's Summer Books 2015 Financial Times