This book. Oh my gosh. I worried and wondered if, because the book is about a pandemic that wipes out most of the world and then the apocalyptical result, that I might find the story depressing, off-putting, hitting too close to home, scary, or just totally dispiriting. I felt very much the opposite, though, much to my surprise.
Station Eleven is about a pandemic that hits the world and kills the vast majority of people on earth. The story then toggles back and forth between before the pandemic hit, and twenty years after the fact.
This book is wildly atmospheric. The characters are compelling and engaging. They have interesting relationships and connections with one another. The story is, ultimately, a love letter to the human experience of living. The tagline of this book: what would you miss? Everyday things we totally take for granted are brought into a romantic, heartachingly lovely light, such as turning on a shower and warm water (or any water) coming out of the head, of sitting in an airplane as it takes off into the night sky and looking out the window to see the dendrites of light spreading along the earths surface below. Doing things like walking into a grocery store and being able to buy fresh food, sleeping in a bed, or having easy access to reading books (via libraries) will be made newly awesome through reading this.
This story will prompt you to look at the world anew, through more idealistic, excited, hopeful eyes. To notice the beauty and wonder that surrounds you, even amidst the current scary and heartbreaking circumstances of this moment.
I found this story to be the opposite of depressing, the opposite of dispiriting, for the very reasons I just described. The story in this book is an extreme, apocalyptic example of our current real-life situation, but times, like, twenty. So it’s out of this world and not especially likely or realistic. There were parts of the book I found eerie, like the beginning of the story, when the plague first hits. That gave me some chills and felt…creepily close to real life.
But from there on, the book actually drew with it, a stark contrast to how much worse off we could be, and to how incredible the world and life really is.
The relationships between the characters are also quite intriguing, especially the twist at the end, not a huge one, but still, a surprising one.
I highly recommend this book. I found it beautiful.
I also know that there is such a thing as timing with books. That sometimes we might be in the mood for a book, and other times, it is the completely wrong fit. I have gone to pick up a book and tried it, and was unable to get into it or enjoy it. And then, months or even years later, picked it up again, and absolutely loved it. We need different books at different moments and moods of our lives. So for many people, the timing may not be right on this one.
I also know that different books speak to different people. A story I love, you might hate. A book I find inspiring and beautiful, you might find trite or boring. A book I find cheesy and eye-rolling, you might find it swoon-worthy. Different stories speak to each of us differently.
To me, this is what is so appealing and awesome about reading. There is always a book out there waiting to rock your world. And, if you are a writer or author, this can be quite the empowering thought. Good writing and great stories are totally relative and are determined by each individual who picks it up. There is no universally great or bad story. There are only stories, and each of them will speak to every person differently.
Station Eleven spoke to me. It moved me, inspired me, enchanted me, and gripped me. It might do the same for you too.