Station Eleven

Station Eleven

[a Novel]

Audiobook CD - 2014
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One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production. Jeevan Chaudhary, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside as life disintegrates outside.
Publisher: [New York] : Random House Audio, p2014
ISBN: 9780553398076
Branch Call Number: CD F MAN NVD
Characteristics: 9 audio discs (10 hr., 30 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Station 11


From the critics

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LPL_SarahM Nov 29, 2020

Currently living through a pandemic has given me some insight that I wouldn't have had if I'd read this book when it initially came out. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing but it did make me shake my head in frustration when, in the first couple of chapters, one of the characters goes to the store and buys carts and carts of food and toilet paper. "That is so selfish!," I yelled as I remembered the days in March when I couldn't find a single roll. Frustrating as the character's actions were, I couldn't help but also give a knowing nod to the author as she clearly knew how humans would act in this scenario maybe by studying history or maybe by prophecy (which would be quite fitting here). I did truly enjoy this book. The way the stories unfolded, it was almost a mystery at times and although occasionally violent, I appreciated a dystopian novel that wasn't steeped in gore.

Nov 10, 2020

I found this novel very well-written and I enjoyed reading it very much. I particularly liked the ways the stories kept overlapping and connecting and I did not feel any of these connections were obvious or foreshadowed. I loved being surprised.

Sep 25, 2020

"All three caravans of the Travelling Symphony are labelled as such, THE TRAVELLING SYMPHONY lettered in white of both sides, but the lead caravan carries an additional line of text:

Because survival is insufficient"

Aug 09, 2020

This book was def overhyped by the time I got around to it. I'm not feeling the same connection to Covid, I don't worry about my society collapsing, also the limited time spent on people actually being sick make it feel like a it was immediately over. It was very interesting at first but as time went on I was getting too much unnecessary info and not enough explanation of's like so many things were forgotten and never coming back. Maybe it's on purpose but it's no less frustrating.
Things I did like: people checking their memories against each other (light in the fridge, chocolate chip cookies)
Did not like: how things are connected but not connected enough, and the treatment of women, even though most of the violence happens outside the main story.

Jul 19, 2020


jcljessicaj Jul 07, 2020

We listened to this on a recent road-trip. It was a good middle ground for my partner and I who have different taste in genres - I like romance and fantasy; he likes noir mystery. We really enjoyed it - especially currently living in a pandemic. We were captivated by the characters and various story lines. It was so fascinating to see them intersect and fun to guess at what was to come. We paused it multiple times while listening to discuss certain parts or give our theories for where a certain character's story would go. Listening to the book gave us the sense of living in the story. We loved it.

JCLEmmaF Jun 22, 2020

An incredibly surreal, gorgeous, and devastating experience to accidentally pick this up during a pandemic, read in quarantine. Unforgettable, really.

Jun 21, 2020

When I downloaded this nearly 18 months ago I did not realize a specific part was missing. After reading the book (my copy) I finally figured out what is missing. Now I'm on the long waitlist to reload. IMO there are several points where the author dropped the ball, however, most importantly it was her first book. Maybe the editor could have pointed out various 'issues'. That said, this has become a favorite read/listen and I feel there is much to be examined, pondered. I've returned to it frequently and found new aspects I can take further. Age and experience has a lot to do with acceptance, understanding. Don't dismiss it out of hand as it seems several reviews have done. I've heard Scots whisky is an acquired taste as opposed to bourbon, as is haggis or curry. This has become an acquired taste for me.

Jun 18, 2020

I really liked "Station Eleven" even though I read it in the middle of the current COVID-19 pandemic and that did make parts of the story hit a little closer to the bone. The characters were likeable, which is really important to me as a reader. I don't have much patience with novels full of characters I don't care about at all. I noticed a few comments here about how the ending was great. For me it fell a little flat and that's why I am going with 4 stars instead of 5. I felt like I would have liked to read a little more about the conversations that happened between Clark and Kirsten, but they are mostly left implied.

Jun 13, 2020

I did not finish this book because I could not believe that two years after a pandemic that leaves the population with no gasoline or electricity there would still be much of an entertainment industry. The lack of being able to move food around the country would require that those who did not starve to death return to a completely agrarian lifestyle which would leave very little time for an entertainment industry.

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Jul 13, 2017

"[...] everyone knows when you've got a terrible marriage, it's like having bad breath, you get close enough to a person and it's obvious."

Apr 14, 2017

“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.”

Apr 14, 2017

“They spend all their lives waiting for their lives to begin.”

Apr 14, 2017

“I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.”

Apr 14, 2017

“The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”

Apr 14, 2017

“It was gorgeous and claustrophobic. I loved it and I always wanted to escape.”

Apr 14, 2017

“She had never entirely let go of the notion that if she reached far enough with her thoughts she might find someone waiting, that if two people were to cast their thoughts outward at the same moment they might somehow meet in the middle.”

Apr 14, 2017

“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.”

Apr 14, 2017

“No one ever thinks they’re awful, even people who really actually are. It’s some sort of survival mechanism.”

Apr 14, 2017

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

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Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Apr 13, 2020

frenchhornistba thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Feb 03, 2019

FaithR thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Summary
melwyk Sep 25, 2014

One snowy night in Toronto, an actor playing King Lear drops dead on stage. Only 24 hours later, most of the city is dead from a rapidly spreading virus. The few survivors find, as the electricity and water stop, as the internet drops out, that the virus has killed 99% of the world's population.

The question arises: how to live now? In Emily St John Mandel's unusual approach to a post-apocalyptic novel, the survivors of this modern plague retain their longing for community and civilization, trying their best to live in pockets of humanity across North America.

Early on, we meet the Travelling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors who travel caravan-style around the countryside, performing Shakespeare and symphonies to the scattered inhabitants of tiny settlements. As Kirsten, a main character, has tattooed on her arm: Survival is insufficient.

However, this symphony is also heavily armed, as chaos does exist in the new world. There are those in this rough life who rely on violence, including an eerie Prophet who controls a town the Travelling Symphony rolls into at the start of the story. This Prophet and his followers will pursue them for the rest of the book, adding an edge of suspense.

The story weaves back and forth from apocalyptic present to the past, revealing ways in which all the characters are connected. The constant return to 'before' results in a sense of nostalgia for what we haven't yet lost. Mandel points out precious elements of daily life that her characters have lost forever – the taste of an orange, the feel of air conditioning, ice cream, the ability to connect with one another by phone.

Throughout the book we also encounter Dr. Eleven, a scientist in a graphic novel that Kirsten has carried with her over the many years of post-apocalyptic life. The two volumes she owns of this tiny graphic novel sustain her. Dr. Eleven lives on a satellite, Station Eleven, after the earth is destroyed, and his story reflects her own. This imaginary graphic novel is fleshed out so wonderfully that I hope it is only a matter of time before Mandel releases a real-life edition.

This is a beautiful book; imaginative and full of complex characters, it is a post-apocalyptic novel that combines danger with beauty, sadness with hope. Mandel clearly believes that there is something good in humanity that will endure.


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