Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book #27: Station Eleven

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Amazon Synopsis:
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end. 

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

How's that for different than my norm?? I actually am kind of interested in dystopian literature, but it's usually geared toward the young adult crowd, and I just do not enjoy that. So I was excited to find this one at the library. At first, the synopsis turned me off. It seemed overly complicated. I'm usually not a fan of the going back and forth in time. But I kept coming back to it week after week at the library, so I decided just to try it.

I really liked it! I started it at 7 pm yesterday and stayed up 'til midnight to finish it. I liked that the storyline was actually plausible. It is technically possible that a super-virus could take over the world and kill 99% of the population in a matter of days/weeks. There were no zombies or vampires involved.

I love to read about "the olden days" before electricity and modern conveniences, so it was fun to read about life after modern technology that was reminiscent of the olden days. I loved reading about how this traveling caravan used old truck beds pulled by horses like the covered wagons of the Oregon Trail. And how people abandoned their homes in search of help only to end up creating settlements in motels so they could be together and have the protection of a group. A large portion of the book is set in an airport where people were stranded when all air travel ended. It was interesting to see how they used the abandoned planes as homes, how they raided the airport restaurant for food and then used the TSA guns to go hunting when they ran out of food.

And a couple of the performers in the traveling symphony are scavengers, who go into people's abandoned homes and look for anything interesting/useful. How awesome would that be to go through people's belongings? Haha. I'm nosy.

The plot was basically just how these people survive and how a new civilization started after civilization as we know it ended. But the story was well written and interesting. At first, it took me a while to get used to the back and forth between the past and present, but eventually I figured it out. I'm a very linear thinker. It amazes me that authors can so artfully arrange a story without going in perfect order from beginning to end. Haha.

Here's my one beef with the dystopian theme: In this story, at least, the electricity/Internet went out after the first week - not because of some huge natural disaster, but because so many people died that there was no one left to run the plants. I'm sorry, but you're really telling me that no electricians survived? There was no one who understands electricity enough to get the plant up and running? And lots of people died from the lack of medicine/antibiotics. No doctors or scientists or pharmacists survived who know how to make the medication? It just seems unlikely. But it makes for a great story! :-)

It's one of those books that really makes you think. I, for one, would not have survived long - even if I did make it through the pandemic. If my family and friends died, my house was raided by looters, and I had to live in fear of being shot/attacked all the time, I'd just give up. I'd lay down and die. I wouldn't even bother hiking for miles to find other people and start a whole new civilization. And I certainly wouldn't do my part to repopulate the world without modern conveniences . . . like epidurals! Lol.

1 comment:

  1. I read this book earlier this summer, and also really enjoyed it! It was a lot different than what I expected, but I thought it was really neatly woven together and artfully written. The way all the characters' stories intersected each other was so neat - I liked seeing that unfold. And I totally agree with you about the electricity thing. (Really? It's been 20 years and nobody has even figured out how to get an old solar panel or wind turbine working, or anything?) But still a really cool book.

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