First, we had ‘bears, beets, and Battlestar Galactica’; thanks to the fantastic imagination of Emily St. John Mandel – we also now have an incredible book that delivers Shakespeare, Star Trek and the Traveling Symphony.
A fantastic dystopian post-apocalyptic tale that hits almost too close to home for comfort, Station Eleven weaves it’s web around what Vonnegut would consider a Karass, a group of people somehow destined to intertwine their lives.
Between the Georgia Flu and the deterioration of what we’ve deemed normal, and the foreboding feelings of post apocalyptic dystopia – Station Eleven enveloped me in a world that felt similar to mine yet so, uniquely separate. For days, I was interchangeably Kirstin and Miranda; I had two knife tattoos on my wrist and I was slowly uncovering bits of myself, like a backwards puzzle piece through her eyes, or I was discovering myself in Miranda’s evolution, in time with the world around me – delving into the worlds beyond with Dr. Elven and into the depths of myself and the Undersea.
Even with the book over, the words ‘Survival is Insufficient’ weave their way through my brain, leaving a permanent reminder to not only find beauty in this world, but to create and curate that beauty as well.
Without spoiling things, here are a few of the quotes that sat with me.
“At moments when other people could only stare, he wanted to be the one to take step forward.”
“I repent nothing”
“…only the dishonorable leave when things get difficult…can you call the pursuit of happiness dishonorable?”
“…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.”
“If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there’s nothing that you cannot justify. There’s nothing you can’t survive because there’s nothing that you will not do.”
“What did it mean to seem like yourself, in the course of such unspeakable days? How was anyone supposed to seem?”
“A fragment for my friend —
If your soul left this earth I would follow and find you
Silent, my starship suspended in night”
“Hell is the absence of people you long for”
“I don’t believe in the perfectibility of the individual”
“- it’s like the corporate world’s full of ghosts. And actually, let me revise that….to say adulthood’s full of ghosts. I’m talking about these people who’ve ended up in one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed. Do you know what I mean? They’ve done what’s expected of them. They want to do something different but it’s impossible now, there’s a mortgage, kids, whatever, they’re trapped. High functioning sleepwalkers.”
Upon finishing the novel, I wanted to rush to the interwebs and demand that someone make a miniseries of this – low and behold, HBO is already in the process of creating an adaptation of Station Eleven, with The HBO adaptation. Directed by Hiro Murai of Childish Gambino’s This is America and Atlanta fame, I have high hopes for the series and am already anxiously awaiting it’s release.
Station Eleven is a timely and instant classic; the perfect read for our current world situation. After the solitude and self sufficiency of Thoreau’s Walden, this is a close second for me.
What’s a book you’ve read during quarantine that hit close to home in a good way? If you have one to add, let me know in the comments below!
[Station Eleven] Author’s Webpage | Amazon / Good Reads
[Emily St John Mandel] Webpage / Amazon / Twitter / Good Reads