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Station Eleven

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  322,164 ratings  ·  38,884 reviews
An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, from the author of three highly acclaimed previous novels.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the
Paperback, 333 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by HarperCollins Canada
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  322,164 ratings  ·  38,884 reviews

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Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Survival is insufficient".
Star Trek: Voyager

Novels whose premise strips away the world as we know it can be tricky territory. They can be innately dramatic, overwrought, didactic and riddled with Big Questions about Life and Death that leave no room for contemplation. Think Ayn Rand on her best day.

Or they can be like "Station Eleven". Quiet. Dark. Elegiac. Lit from within like a mysterious firefly. Unhurried. Steeped in small acts and evocative landscapes. Lonely. Elegant. Radiant. Heartbroken
Maggie Stiefvater
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, recommended
I don't know if you will like this book.

It's a very particular kind of book done very well, which is not remotely a promise that you will like it. The jacket copy is not untrue, but it also isn't helpful. Yes, this is book about the end of the world as we know it, yes, this is a book about a post-apocalyptic Shakespearean troupe, yes, this is a book about a Hollywood actor's dispiriting love life. But that doesn't tell you how the book feels — what the experience is like reading it. This is les
Rick Riordan
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adult speculative fiction

Even since reading The Stand by Stephen King when I was a kid, I’ve had a soft spot for apocalyptic plagues that wipe out humanity. Er . . . I mean in fiction, of course. Station Eleven is in that vein.

The Georgia Flu sweeps across the world, killing most of humanity. St. John-Mandel, using beautiful prose and poignant characterization, follows the lives of various survivors, tracing how their lives intersect in a group of entertainers called the Traveling Symphony. The
Of all of them there at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest. He died three weeks later on the road out of the city.

on the night the world begins to end, a man has a heart attack and dies onstage while performing the lead role in king lear. considering that shortly after this, the georgia flu will have killed off 99% of the population and changed the world as we know it forever, it seems unlikely that he would be remembered among so many millions dead. but that'
Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
”Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

When the Georgia Flu sweeps around the world killing 99.6% of the population there were suddenly... a lot of people... to long for. The people missing from our lives is the hardest part. We mourn their loss, but we also have to mourn for the part of ourselves that is lost with each of their passings.

To survive is painful.

”Civilization in Year Twenty was an archipelago of small towns. These towns had fought off ferals, buried their neighbors, liv
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“The thing with the new world is it’s just horrifically short on elegance.”

Everyone loved this book. I’m talking EVERYONE. I have 1 – yep ONE – friend or person I follow on Goodreads who gave it less than 3 Stars. In order to prove how much of an idiot I am and that no one should take my opinion seriously, I will super giffify this review.

Commercial Photography

Station Eleven begins with the story of Arthur, who passes away on stage while performing
chai ♡
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Edit: Amidst the coronavirus panic, this book now hits different 😬

This book lay undisturbed on my shelf for years, and now that I have finally read it, I only feel the sort of heaviness that comes from wanting something for so long that the eventual achievement of it is a loss.

There are many things this book does well, and I was conscious throughout that I was reading a story that, for all intents and purposes, should have sung to me. But in the end, I'm not sure that Station Eleven was the book
Violet wells
I wanted and expected to enjoy this novel more than I did. There’s much that’s gripping and clever but it was spoiled for me by a sloppiness in its construction, most notably an excess of half-baked and obfuscating characters. Was this novel rushed to cash in on the Hunger Games pandemic? At times it comes across as a novel written with heart but equally it can seem sketchy and only half imagined. Also should be said that it karaokes most other successful dystopian novels of recent times, most o ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story about the resilience of people.
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Until I someday write a longer review (you never know, it could happen), I’ll just say this: I sat down intending to read about 50 pages tonight and wound up reading 200. I also completely forgot the world around me existed for a few hours, and that is the highest praise I can personally give any book.
Always Pouting
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so good, I started reading it at like 11 pm the other night because I just wanted to read a little before going to sleep and ended up staying up until 6 am to finish it. I really like the way the story unfolds and the way everything is connected, I'm a sucker for threads coming together in a story and like following characters who come into contact with on another and how their different story lines end up. Not sure about that ending though, but I guess I also tend to not find most endi ...more
Mark Lawrence
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Station Eleven is a work of literary fiction. The fact that half of it is set in a post apocalyptic future doesn't change this.

The book is a study of lives before and after the end of the world (a flu strain wipes almost everyone out in short order - quite reminiscent of The Stand in that, but the characters here are far less colourful, there's nothing supernatural going on, and the actual days of dying are very much off screen).

There's very little action, tension, or intrigue in this novel but
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why it bothers me so that I thought this book was just ok. So many of my GR friends have embraced this Station Eleven and have shouted its praises from the rooftop. I struggled through the first 80 pages, didn't want to throw it under the couch, but wasn't finding myself engaged. Perhaps I should have quit while I was ahead but stubborn that I am, I carried on. It never really got better for me but I did finish. At least I won't feel left out.

Shakespeare is dead and I prefer him to
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An eclectic, always wondrous literary feast, with a generous dispersal of savory anecdotes, attitudes & (grand) themes. It has all the BEST features of previous apocalyterature & road stories (the pale terror of McCarthy's "The Road", the joie de vivre/bonhomie of the band of outsiders in "The Wizard of Oz," the irresistible speed & power of "Mad Max: Fury Road")-- it all adds up to something as interesting & bizarre as David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas."

"Station Eleven" is a novel that's so full of
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exceptionally well rendered portrait of Elvis on a magnificent black velvet background.

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel’s 2014 novel is the "Velvet Elvis" of post-apocalyptic books, a surprisingly different form than usual with a style all its own.

“Post-apocalyptic literary science fiction” was one way I have heard it described, and also “pastoral science fiction” and I here adopt both descriptions. Mandel has certainly softened the Mad Max edges off her story and provided a ponderous, m
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”What’s going on?”
“I don’t know, Jeevan. That’s the short answer. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a flu, that much is obvious, but I’ve never seen anything like it. It is so fast. It just seems to spread so quickly –“

This is one of the rare times I’m actually searching for the right words and if you know me, you know that this doesn’t happen all too often. *lol* To describe this book is kind of hard though so bear with me when I don’t always manage to convey my thoughts and feelings. It’s not
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s no accident that Emily St. John Mandel opens her haunting new novel with a scene from King Lear, who ends up mad and blind but clear as a bell. One of that play’s memorable lines is: “The oldest hath borne most; we that are young/Shall never see so much nor live so long.”

Indeed, there is a divide between those who have borne much and those who will never see so much. In the opening pages, renowned actor Arthur Leander dies while performing King Lear. Before the week is out, the vast majorit
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a lovely, elevated apocalypse story that was very touching. The integration of acting and Hollywood world was really interesting, I'm sure even moreso to someone who isn't in "the biz." If you want a dose of great storytelling with your post-disaster wasteland fiction, this is a book for you!
This book is so beautiful.

I am not even talking about the cover - although actually, let’s take a second to talk about the cover. LOOK AT THIS COVER! Are you seeing it? So lovely. So so pretty. Looooook aaaaaaattttt itttttttt.

Okay, now that we’ve done that.

This book is so beautiful.

I don’t know what I expected. I honestly don’t really know why I picked this up, besides the aforementioned pretty-cover thing. I’m not a huge sci-fi person. I’m definitely not a huge post-apocalyptic dystopian person
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Post-apocalyptic fans
Milestone achieved = Review #200 within one year six months of joining Goodreads!

Thought-provoking, haunting, and atmospheric.

Station Eleven is an adult post apocalyptic/dystopian novel written by Emily St. John Mandel and I’m actually quite surprised by how enjoyable it was, especially considering that I bought this book on a whim two days ago without knowing anything about it whatsoever. Those who followed my reviews should know by now that SFF is my number one favorite genre to read, that’s w
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

"We traveled so far and your friendship meant everything. It was difficult, but there were moments of beauty. Everything ends. I am not afraid."

Station Eleven is a book that sat hovering in my peripheral vision for a couple of years. I promised myself I would read it in 2017, and I'm really glad I finally did.

The book begins with the end.

The end of actor, Arthur Leander, and the end of the world in the form of a fast-acting flu-like virus. From that point on, the story
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprised by how much I enjoyed this book because I am a bit burnt out on post apocalyptic fiction. Well written, intricately plotted. The ending falters a bit, awash in an overreach for poignancy. I know how I definitely don't want to die and that is on a quarantined airplane on a tarmac in Northern Michigan, with a bunch of other plague-ridden folk. Stuff of nightmares. Also, I struggled to believe there would be a major international airport with three concourses in northern Michigan. I've li ...more
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one well written apocalypse.

Arthur Leander is a famous actor who suffers a heart attack and dies on stage just before a deadly version of the swine flu kills most of humanity. Station Eleven then uses Arthur as the center of a web of connections that we learn from the people in his life before, during and after the disease wipes out the world as we know it. Kirsten sees Arthur die as a child actor, and years later she’s part of the Traveling Symphony that tours the small towns of the pos
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.

First, two points about my experience of reading so far in 2014.

1. I've read some great books this year, but in terms of highly anticipated new fiction, 2014 has frequently been disappointing. Elizabeth is Missing and The Miniaturist, two enormously hyped debuts I had been hearing about since around a year ago, were both perfectly readable and okay, but fell far short of what I expected from them; Sarah Waters' new novel The Paying Guests I found
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘we travelled so far and your friendship meant everything. it was very difficult, but there were moments of beauty. everything ends. i am not afraid.’

wow wow wow. this book. this was quite unlike any other post-apocalyptic story i have ever read before. this didnt focus on the flu that eradicated 99% of earths population. this didnt go into detail about the origin of the disease or the worldwide attempt to contain it. the purpose of the book wasnt to explore the collapse of the world as we
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I loved this book - I might buy it on Kindle just so I have it for my own Keepers collection. :) 4.5 stars.

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

Dr. Eleven stands on dark rocks overlooking an indigo sea at twilight. Small boats move between islands, wind turbines spinning on the horizon. He holds his fedora in his hand. A small white animal stands by his side.
On Station Eleven's surface it is always sunset or twilight or night.
Station Eleven i
Michael Finocchiaro
This was a great apocalyptic novel that really grabbed me from the beginning. The writing is really good and the characters are fascinating and realistic.
The Georgia Virus has swept across the planet, annihilating 99% of the human race. We see the collapse of civilization and the 20 years following the disaster through the eyes of a group of characters centered around an actor, Arthur who dies about 24h before all hell breaks loose. The book takes us back and forth in time through the character
Megan Johnson
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction, Book clubs
Shelves: general-fiction
The world is ending, a deadly pandemic has left 99.99% of humanity dead, and for those left the task of surviving is proving to be more difficult than any of them could have imagined. A famous actor falls dead on stage from a heart attack mere hours before the outbreak affects nearly everyone around him. They would all almost be dead within a few weeks. Station Eleven is the story of those affected by this mass outbreak and how they are somehow all connected in ways that transcend this great tra ...more
mark monday
assorted thoughts

a post-apocalyptic pastoral. I like post-apocalyptic pastorals, their difference from other post-apocalyptic novels that prefer to focus on violence and devolving to a barbaric state. something so relaxing about contemplating an emptied-out world not full of hustle and bustle. all that time to think. but how does one go about eating? or fighting off the occasional aggressor? it would be important to have skill with a knife.

I appreciate the tender humanism at the novel's core.

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

This was a wonderful book that really took me by surprise! A fantastic array of characters to follow - I was never bored.

In a world where a mutated version of Swine Flu wipes out 99% of the worlds population, society as we know it collapses, and with it everything we have ever known. The internet, electricity, airplanes, mobile phones, everything.

It starts with a performance of King Lear, the lead actor
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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.

She is the author of five novels, including The Glass Hotel (spring 2020) and Station Eleven (2014.) Station Eleven was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Aw

Articles featuring this book

In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through...
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“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.” 1060 likes
“Survival is insufficient.” 658 likes
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