Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mandel, Emily St. John (Station Eleven)

I love post-apocalyptic genre fiction (both written and visual). I especially love it when it's thoughtful and persuasive.

As usual, I'm sure this novel is deeper than I give it credit for. I'm sure the author has many themes and flourishes I am not cognizant of. However, it's clear that the book takes the post-apocalyptic genre and adds at least one layer to it - what will we miss from days gone by? why will we miss it? who in particular will miss it? should we miss it?

I found myself really struck by this. Besides everything else going on in the book - other layers of multiple mysteries and woven lives - I was alternately surprised and, frankly, annoyed by the ongoing comparison of young people (don't miss anything, of course) with old people (deeply missing various things). I simply hadn't thought about how different these sets of folks might be. Usually post-apocalyptic fiction details all the ways people can destroy each other when left to their human nature. This book is somewhat gentler in this regard, but it made me realize that a cultural schism in terms of young and old could be quite devastating.

There's a book club discussion area at the end of my copy of the book. I usually skip these, but the final question caught me since I'd already been ruminating on it. What would I miss? Electricity, hands down. Without it, no internet, no air conditioning, no cars, no airplanes, no anything vital. What would you miss?

1 comment:

Keith Brown said...

Hi Kat: I just finished "Station Eleven" as well and had a very similar reaction to yours. I really liked your take on the book, which I also enjoyed for what it tried to be. By the way, having lived in Texas for the last 30 years, I'd miss air conditioning the most. Keith