Once I finished book #52 for 2016, I immediately picked up another thinking it’d be my first of 2017. I finished this one quicker than I expected, so it’s not technically in 2017, but it’s a great one to start off a new year of reading.
On the surface, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a post-apocalyptic novel, but truly is so much more. The novel is set in a world destroyed by a pandemic; only a fraction of humanity is left and they live in small towns dotted here and there around the globe. Kirsten was eight when the pandemic struck, her last night in the former world spent as a child actor in a production of King Lear. Twenty years later, she travels throughout North America with the Traveling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors that perform music and Shakespearean plays in the towns they pass through.
If the idea of sci-fi/post-apocalyptic would turn you away, don’t let that dissuade you from this novel. Mandel not only writes an engaging, fast-paced story, but she delves into some inspiring themes. By jumping back and forth between pre-pandemic and post-pandemic, she explores the role of art in difficulty, the numerous everyday things we take for granted, and, in a world where we can get anything we want with the press of a few keys, what is truly important in life. I loved this book and couldn’t put it down.