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Station Eleven Paperback – 1 Jan 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 707 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (1 Jan. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447268970
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447268970
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (707 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Glorious, unexpected, superbly written; just try putting it down. (The Times)

One of the 2014 books that I did read stands above all the others, however: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel . . . It's a deeply melancholy novel, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac, a book that I will long remember, and return to. (George R. R. Martin)

Disturbing, inventive and exciting, Station Eleven left me wistful for a world where I still live. (Jessie Burton, author of THE MINIATURIST)

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)

Station Eleven reads as a love letter - acknowledging all those things we would most miss and all those things we would still have (Karen Joy Fowler, author of WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES)

A haunting tale of art and the apocalypse. Station Eleven is an unmissable experience. (Samantha Shannon, author of THE BONE SEASON)

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)

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)

Riveting, brilliant (Nina Stibbe, author of LOVE, NINA)

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)

Drew me in irresistibly (Anne Tyler New York Times)

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)

Excellently written, Station Eleven is closer to Joyce than Orwell as it stealthily connects plots and people (Sunday Times)

Plays with time and place in a manner that brings to mind Kate Atkinson's superb Life After Life. (Stylist)

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)

The inventiveness and exploration of ideas about survival and art give Mandel's novel its indelibility . . . Station Eleven amazed me with its sharp and emotionally true reimagining of nearly everything we take for granted in the world (Meg Wolitzer)

Book Description

'Glorious, unexpected, superbly written; just try putting it down' The Times

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Top Customer Reviews

By Lincs Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Just look at that cover! You would, wouldn't you? Then read the intriguing synopsis, listen to the rave reviews that are already out there, and you'll be sold on this one. Yes, sometimes a book just doesn't live up to the hype, but believe me, this one does. It really does, in fact it exceeded all of my expectations. It's a book that makes me wonder why I think I'm qualified to write a review, I am struggling to find words to explain just how Station Eleven made me feel. I was hooked in by the end of the first page and if I could, I would have sat down and read the whole damn thing, cover to cover, in one sitting.

The world as we know has collapsed. Georgia Flu struck and within two weeks 99% of its victims were dead. As the people died, so did the world's infrastructure. The television stations died, the internet disappeared, there were no phone lines, or aeroplanes. Petrol and oil ran out.

Humanity did survive. The few people that managed to avoid the Georgia Flu have created settlements, often in airport buildings, or petrol stations. Joining together to try to create a new world. Some things remain, there is still music and literature, and the Travelling Symphony are a group of artists who travel from settlement to settlement, putting on the plays of Shakespeare and accompanying these with music. The Symphony are a mixed bunch of people, all ages, both sexes. People who have come to look upon the Symphony as their family. They share memories, they have relationships.

The story travels back to the days before the collapse, and then to the present-day; twenty years later, and holding these two strands together is one person. Arthur Leander was a celebrity, an accomplished actor with three ex-wives and a small son.
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This book is as good as everybody says it is and more. Having finished it, I now know why people speak or tweet about Station Eleven, and then pause. That moment of almost reverential silence is, I think, because it is genuinely hard to convey in words just how this book makes you feel. I can tell you the basic plot: a deadly flu destroys 99% of the population in less than two weeks, leading to the rapid disintegration of our world as we know it, with pockets of survivors carving an existence out of what remains. But amongst the decomposed bodies and burnt out cars emerges The Symphony, a ragged band of actors who travel from town to town performing Shakespeare, because 'survival is not enough'. But this is not just another post-apocalyptic thriller. The understated, almost mundane way the outbreak of the flu is described makes it frighteningly believable, and there is at first no clear protagonist or linear thread to follow. The novel is a symphony in itself, with the author introducing different characters and their tales, all at first seemingly unconnected and unremarkable. But gradually, harmonies start to develop and the rhythm builds, until all the strands come together to make something incredibly powerful and affecting. Her skill in conducting this symphony of narratives is on a par with Khaled Hosseini, as is her ability to evoke a mood with her subtle language and the portrayal and absence of certain images. The introduction of the genuinely sinister Prophet, and the horror that he brings to the novel, also reminded of Stephen King's The Stand. But Station Eleven is unique, for unlike other books, I was left not thinking about the characters or even the plot, but with the mood and sensibility it had created within me, more akin to a powerful piece of music. Anyway, I think I have just demonstrated how difficult it is to convey why this book is special. All I can say is: for once, believe the gushing reviews and read it.
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I finished this book last night, it was my first 'post apocalypse' book and I only came across it as it was chosen as this months book at my local book club. It started out quite well and I was enjoying this new genre however as I came to the end of the book I realised that nothing had really happened in the book, there was no particular aim, no real ending and I felt disappointed at the end, however my biggest problem with the book is why were these people camped out in airport using hotel sheets as make shift tents, why did Kirsten have sandals made out of old car tyres, why was there no medication? Only 1% of the population survived, with all the fully stocked hospitals, clinics, pharmacies as well as pharmaceutical factories there would be enough medication to see these people through hundreds of years. The thousands of fully stocked supermarkets, clothes and shoe shops in North America they should have been the most well dressed people in history. Did anyone think of breaking into the a bicycle store so they wouldn't have to walk anywhere? Why didn't they move into the hotels to live, on the millions of houses rather than camp under sheets in the airport? Why were they treasuring an old newspaper when the local shop would have piles of them? Twenty years and they were still living like this, I couldn't stop asking myself why, the libraries would be full of books, the hard ware stores full of batteries for torches, tools etc It's been driving me mad ever since I finished the book, it's as though they all buried their heads in the sand and gave up.
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