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. ... "Because
survival is insufficient," reads a line taken from Star Trek
spray-painted on the Traveling Symphony's lead wagon. The genius of
Mandel's fourth novel ... is that she lives up to those words. 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.
- Karen Valby, Entertainment Weekly
“Like Cloud Atlas, the back-and-forth movements in Station
the author to make thematic connections across time. But Station Eleven
takes the device an exciting step further. It uses the movements in
time to build an incredible emotional depth into its characters. ...
result is a novel that carries a magnificent depth. ... Station Eleven
also uses some of conventions of genre — there is suspense,
fiction and elements of horrors — but this is undoubtedly a
work. It's a sweeping look at where we are, how we got here and where
we might go. While her previous novels are cracking good reads, this is
her best yet.
- Claire Cameron, The Globe and Mail
“Ambitious, magnificent ... Mandel's vision is not only
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, The Passage, and The Dog Stars.
- Kristine Huntley, Booklist (starred)
“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
“Audacious ... A group of actors and musicians stumble
upon each other and now roam the region between Toronto and Chicago as
the Traveling Symphony, performing Shakespeare — "A
Midsummer Night's Dream," "Romeo and Juliet" —
for small settlements they find in the wilderness. Their existence
alone provides the novel with a strange beauty, even hope, as one
actress notes how these plays survived a bubonic plague centuries ago
... Station Eleven is blessedly free of moralizing, or even much
violence. If anything, it's a book about gratitude, about life right
now, if we can live to look back on it.
- Kim Ode, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“ Haunting and riveting ... In several moving passages,
Mandel's characters look back with similar longing toward the receding
pre-plague world, remembering all the things they'd once taken for
granted — from the Internet to eating an orange ... It's not
just the residents of Mandel's post-collapse world who need to forge
stronger connections and live for more than mere survival. So do we
- Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“ Never has a book convinced me more of society's looming
than Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, an apocalyptic novel about
a world just like our own that, much as our own might, dissolves after
a new strain of influenza eradicates 99 percent of the human
population. ... Mandel displays the
impressive skill of evoking both terror and empathy ... She has
exuded talent for years ... There is such glory in humanity, in what
we, through every plague and every age, continue to create —
book — and in what we are capable of sustaining.
- Tiffany Gibert, Los Angeles Review of Books
“ In this unforgettable, haunting, and almost hallucinatory
life at the edge, those who remain struggle to retain their basic
humanity and make connections with the vanished world through art,
memory, and remnants of popular culture ... a brilliantly
constructed, highly literary, postapocalyptic page-turner.
- Lauren Gilbert, Library Journal (starred)
“[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)
“A unique departure from which to examine civilization's
wreckage ... [a] wild fusion of celebrity gossip and grim future ...
Mandel's examination of the connections between individuals with
disparate destinies makes a case for the worth of even a single life.
- Publishers Weekly
“ Enormous scope and an ambitious time-jumping structure,
paints its post-apocalyptic world in both bold brushstrokes and tiny
points of background detail. As the conflicts of one era illuminate
another, a small group of interrelated characters witnesses the
collapse of the current historical age and staggers through the first
faltering steps of the next ... [A] powerfully absorbing tale of
survival in a quarantined airport and on the dangerous roads between
improvised settlements, protected by actors and musicians trained for
gunfights. Mandel has imagined this world in full, and her ambition and
imagination on display here are admirable.
- Emily Choate, Chapter 16
“Dazzling is the only way to describe Emily St. John Mandel's
Station Eleven ... Flashing between pre-outbreak life, the night the
Georgian Flu begins its wildfire spread, and the future 20 years later,
Mandel tells more than just an apocalypse story, she weaves an
incredibly human one, with no individual tale left underdeveloped. ...
Elegant, yet approachable, Station Eleven will compel you to conquer it
in one sitting, and then linger with you as you go about your business.
- The Barnes & Noble Book Blog