Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel
Emily St John Mandel
One night in Toronto, Hollywood star Arthur Leander dies onstage while playing Lear. Unbeknownst to the audience, a disaster on a much greater scale is unfolding elsewhere; within weeks, a new strain of flu will have killed 99 per cent of the world’s population. Arthur’s death is the fulcrum on which this post-apocalyptic story turns. The narrative’s many threads follow the fates of Jeevan, the paramedic who performed CPR on Arthur, and Kirsten, a child actor onstage when Arthur collapsed. Arthur’s own life is explored in flashback. A finalist for the National Book Award, Station Eleven makes for a curiously cosy apocalypse. Horror and brutality are not what interest Mandel; rather it’s the small moments of human kindness at the end of the world, and the question of what’s truly worth preserving from our civilisation. A deeply satisfying page-turner.