Audiobook Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Posted October 24, 2015 by Bethany in Recommendations, Reviews / 9 Comments

Station Eleven Audiobook Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandelby Emily St. John Mandel
on September 9, 2014
Buy on AmazonBuy on Audible
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
Source: Audiobook
Pages: 352

A National Book Award FinalistA PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.
Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.


“What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

This review will probably be all over the place because there is just so much I want to say about this book, so please bare with me. I will try my best to get my thoughts in order. *deep breath* Alright, here we go:

I haven been wanting to read Station Eleven ever since I watched Megan’s Sunday Morning Chat a few months ago. When the audiobook became available through my library I knew it was time to finally dive in. The story begins with 51 year old actor Arthur on stage performing Shakespeare’s King Lear. He suddenly collapses in front of the audience and dies. His death signifies the end of an era — the era of modern civilization. After that, all hell breaks loose. The world as they know it is suddenly over.

“No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.”

I really don’t like to summarize books in my reviews so I’ll stop right there, and now tell you what I loved about this amazing story, how it made me feel, and what I took away from it.

I loved the incredible character development. Some of them I adored and some I did not. But, I felt I got to know each one of them and see a little piece of myself. The beautiful way the author crafted a story that intertwined “the before” and “the after” is truly a work of art. There are seemingly inanimate objects that play key parts in weaving together characters from the past and the characters twenty years later when there is hardly anyone left on earth.

Station Eleven is just one of those books that is going to stay with me for years to come. It made me ponder my own life. What if the world came to an end tomorrow, am I living life to the fullest? Do I cherish my loved ones enough? How will the decisions I make today affect my future in 20, 30 years?

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

If I had to choose one word to describe this deeply thought-provoking novel it would be HUMAN. Mankind is resilient, and beauty and life can rise from any obstacle. Station Eleven is a human story, and I definitely recommend it to all human readers. 🙂 It is one of my favorite all-time favorite reads.

“Jeevan found himself thinking about how human the city is, how human everything is. We bemoaned the impersonality of the modern world, but that was a lie, it seemed to him; it had never been impersonal at all. There had always been a massive delicate infrastructure of people, all of them working unnoticed around us, and when people stop going to work, the entire operation grinds to a halt. No one delivers fuel to the gas stations or the airports. Cars are stranded. Airplanes cannot fly. Trucks remain at their points of origin. Food never reaches the cities; grocery stores close. Businesses are locked and then looted. No one comes to work at the power plants or the substations, no one removes fallen trees from electrical lines. Jeevan was standing by the window when the lights went out.”

Narrator Note: No complaints about the narrator. She did a great job telling the story and setting the tone for the entire novel. Her confident voice was the perfect choice for this type of book.

About Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.

Her fourth novel, Station Eleven, is forthcoming in September 2014. All three of her previous novels—Last Night in Montreal, The Singer’s Gun, and The Lola Quartet—were Indie Next Picks, and The Singer’s Gun was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband.



9 responses to “Audiobook Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

  1. You finished! I loved the narrator on this one!

    I felt the same as you about writing a review. It was really hard to write but I loved your review! This book left me in a place of reflection. Like you, it really made me evaluate my life and what I value.

    “She was thinking about the way she’d always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place, the dial turned just one or two degrees.”

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