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Emily St. John Mandel's novel Station Eleven is a dark glittering and audacious novel that features the days of post-apocalyptic that is the eerie days of civilization's collapse. The award-winning book in the fictions genre narrates a spellbinding and ambitious story of a Hollywood star, and his future savior as well as a nomadic group of actors who are out there in the Great lakes region risking all their lives and belongings for humanity and art (Bookhabits 21). Emily explores and foretells the situation that will ensue after on the surface of the earth after a significant change or collapse with a major examination of the theme of celebrity. Therefore, this paper provides a critical review of the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel.
The novel begins tentatively on a fearful note of the death of King Lear and other characters. The character Arthur Leander who is a celebrity drops dead. The novels are marked by tragic occurrence right from the onset with deaths and unbearable sufferings of characters that sets the mood of the entire book. Afterward, the story then shifts to follow traveling symphony which is a troupe name of Shakespearian performers who traverse the community to improve lives through dance, performing arts and song.
Notably, the introductory story was provisional as I might term it since after that tragic moment the story then shifts to follow the life of a man named Arthur Leander. The story addresses the life Arthur lived before the outbreak of the swine flu way back in his childhood stage to the time the epidemic ensued and life after the event. With the shifts that Mendel's work reveals it's hard to identify or to come up with an apparent plot in her story. With the same regards, the philosophies the in the novel and the stories as well meander, together with the large cast of characters it makes it much cumbersome to determine the plot.
Personally, I like and feel impressed about the way Mendel has built and introduced her story. In her work, she brings out the character in a more unethical or a no traditional way, there is no element of culture inclination about all the characters about the universal ones such as dance, song and performing art. There is nothing special about the characters which makes them a representative figure of everyone less on the surface of the earth; they could be you or me or everyone else. The manner in which the author has portrayed the character gives the story a general outlook and all-inclusive, this well integrates with the religious beliefs of the world coming to an end.
Despite the large cast of characters, the author has managed to bring out the true visual impression of the human world, life and human fate in particular. An impression of an actual society and the human race is felt as Mendel discusses the lives of different characters such as Arthur Leader. As everyone could expect in any society the characters live, they have hobbies, they love, they support each other, and they are affected by fate an accurate picture of the human race. Furthermore, the character in this story is much driven by the need to fulfill their requirements and live their lives despite losing everything in the swine flu tragedy which is a primary survival technique for humans.
The resonation the book depicts the human race and the religious beliefs of the post-apocalyptic events that are believed to wait human being strongly absorb the readership, leaving them with suspense to read more and more. Moreover, the above reason and the ideas on existentialism are so captivating and hence making the entire story much fascinating. In a more precise perspective, I found the story more captivating and interesting due to the narration of the life of a star and voyager whose story germinates into a unique theme that rings throughout the story. As a result of this exploration of the theme of celebrity from different angles and facets that make the book more fascinating to the readership since despite the brief descriptive introduction of Arthur his story stands out to dominate the whole story. In addition, Mendel also has a peculiar way of ending the chapters that bring out the sense of foreboding in the audience (Mandel 22).
A while after the death of Arthur several other people died approximately 99% of the world's population which one percent of the population is surviving. The epidemic was able to spread to different parts of the world through traveling passengers a typical example being the flight passengers to the US from Russia. Nonetheless, the purpose of the story mainly focuses on the building of the new world and the survival of the victims, living and recovering from the international disaster and not on the anarchy. A quote by star trek is a remarkable statement in the entire novel. The quote which was emblazoned on the traveling group also called the traveling symphony, caravan "survival is insufficient" encompasses a lot in the story and much more on the present humanity (Mandel 26).
The novel Station Eleven could as well be called post-apocalyptic or speculative fiction. The entire novel details the end of civilization unflinchingly or straightforwardly. In other words, the novel in one way or the other can also trigger depressive feeling to a particular group of audience. Towards the end of the story, the mood is more depressing; the characters undergo a dreadful situation where they fail to make it and their loved one dying becomes such a tragic moment to behold. After I was done reading the novel, I felt an urge of going through a more light and elating story because it was becoming harder to handle the remorsefulness of the story. Nevertheless, the confident belief that the disaster will come along the way, changes here and there, but the inherent goodness in people will always allow to recover, survive and come together in a new way.
Another attractive and impressive thing that caught my attention in Emily's novel that prompted me even to read more of her books is language she used in Station Eleven and how she addresses things that might not occur and far rippling repercussions. The fictitious story though not directly is a foretelling of the occurrence of the Georgia Flu whose possibly are in the air. Part of the horror narrated in Station Eleven is a realization that something of the kind will someday occur in the world with the possibility of those pathogens in the atmosphere.
In conclusion, the novel Station Eleven is a classic factious story that narrates a post-apocalyptic era that is the end of civilization and the life after. However, despite the depressing and horrifying mood of the story, the story is still foreboding and exciting to readership due to good literary work by Emily.
Bookhabits, Summary of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: Conversation Starters. S.L.: Blurb, 2018. Print.
Mandel, Emily S. J. Station Eleven. Toronto, Ontario: HarperCollins Canada, 2014. Print.
Mandel, Emily S. J. Summary of Station Eleven, Create Space Independent Publishing Platform 2016. Print.
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