Over the years both Gary and I have written about author Emily St. John Mandel as a young author to watch. Well, it’s time for another reminder because her latest book, Station Eleven, will be out early next month.
While St. John Mandel’s first three works could be characterized as literary novels with mysterious twists, Station Eleven is squarely placed in the dystopian realm of fiction. Station Eleven is set in post-apocalyptic America and follows a ragtag band of Shakespearean actors who travel the decimated landscape offering their services to the survivors they encounter along the way.
Station Eleven weaves stories of a movie and stage actor who dies on the eve of a mysterious illness that sweeps the globe, a young actress who was there when he died, two of the actor’s ex-wives, his son and a comic book that somehow survives despite the odds. There is an impressive scope in this medium-sized book, a swoop of time and connection that crosses and comes together in interesting ways.
Station Eleven is successful, as many other dystopian novels are, at showing us how precious life and our natural resources are, how powerful art and human connection can be and how close we always are to catastrophe. Emily St. John Mandel has once again proven that she is a writer not to be missed.