Book Review: Station Eleven


Title: 
Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Rating: 
Genre: Fiction, Dystopia, Adult
Pages: 339
Published: January 1st, 2014
House: Picador
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal Purchase

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

My Thoughts:

Though I gave this book a 3.5 rating (which is still a good rating. See my rating system.)I was just a bit disappointed because I wanted to enjoy this a lot more than I did.Read More »

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Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Title: Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA/Adult Fiction
Pages: 181
Published by: Harper Collins
First Published: June 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal Perchase

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark

My Thoughts:

Neil Gaiman accomplished so much in this 181 stand alone fantasy. A good fantasy standalone is impressive, a good fantasy standalone thats under 200 pages is even more impressive. This isn’t a kingdoms-and-swords kind of fantasy, it falls on the paranormal side of things. It’s hard to determine what age group this was written for; while the story does follow a 7 year old boy, it’s told as a memory of his adult self and there are a couple of scenes thrown in that makes one thing certain: it isn’t one of Gaiman’s middle grade books.Read More »

Book Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Title: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Author: Haruki Murakami
Rating: 
Genre: Japanese Literature, Fiction
Pages: 298
Published by: Harvill Secker
First Published: 2013
Format: Hardback
Source: Personal Purchase 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.

One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again.

Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.

Plot Overview:

Tsukuru Tazaki was one of five close friends in his highschool years. Then one day,in his college years, they cut Tsukuru off completely, somberly saying they don’t want to see him again. They don’t say why and Tsukuru doesn’t dare ask. After this incedent Tsukuru just drifts through life, never really forming any solid bonds with anyone. He even goes through a stage of depression. Trigger warning for depression and some adult content. Years later, after his friends cut him off and after his stage of depression, it stills plagues Tsukuru why his close friend would treat him in such a way.

Sarah, the woman Tsukuru is seeing, urges his to find closure by finding out what happened all those years ago.

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