Monday, February 2, 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

2 Stars
 “The thing with the new world is it’s just horrifically short on elegance.”

Everyone loved this book. I’m talking EVERYONE. I have 1 – yep ONE – friend or person I follow on Goodreads who gave it less than 3 Stars. In order to prove how much of an idiot I am and that no one should take my opinion seriously, I will super giffify this review.

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Station Eleven begins with the story of Arthur, who passes away on stage while performing King Lear and Jeevan, the man who tried to recucitate Arthur, and of Kirsten, a child actress who was also in the play and witnesses Arthur’s death. We then do the wibbly-wobbly timey wimey thing that takes us to a dystopian future where 99.99999% of the population was eradicated by the “Georgian Flu” and where Kirsten is still an actress, only this time it is with the “Traveling Symphony” – an acting/musical troupe who travels the wastelands of the Canadian side of the Great Lakes performing Shakespeare. Then we flippy floppy back in time to hear Arthur and Jeevan’s respective life stories. The author also throws in a “second coming of the Lord” for good measure.

Everyone else talks about the crisp, beautiful writing and how they couldn’t put this book down and here I sit and have to confess that it took me three days to get through it (and I generally read a book a day).

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I can agree that the story and characters were intricately woven, but my reaction to those characters and their stories????

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Especially when it comes to the story of the flu and the prophet. No one can ever do the end of the world/second coming better than King did with The Stand. I like my end of the world stories to grab me by the balls and not let go until I’ve become a complete germaphobe who is terrified to leave the house for a few days after reading ; ) Station Eleven left me with a reaction kind of like this . . .

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And for the “flowery writing”?????? The notes I made to myself look like this:

“No more diving into pools of chlorinated water lit green from below. No more ball games played out under floodlights. No more porch lights with moths fluttering on summer nights. No more trains running under the surface of cities on the dazzling power of the electric third rail. No more cities. No more films . . . No more screens shining in the half-light as people raise their phones above the crowd to take photographs of concert stages. No more concert stages lit by candy-colored halogens, no more electronica, punk, electric guitars. No more pharmaceuticals. No more certainty of surviving a scratch on one’s hand, a cut on a finger while chopping vegetables for dinner, a dog bite. No more flight. No more towns glimpsed from the sky through airplane windows . . . No more airplanes, no more requests to put your tray table in its upright and locked position . . .”

Followed by a brilliant comment by me: “SNOOZE!!!!”.

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Then every blue moon I have something like this:

“I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth.”

With my genius observation: “Oooooh, I like that.”

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I also have a bunch of highlights with notes to myself like: “Explain?” . . . “Will she explain??” . . . “Are they EVER going to explain this????”Guess what? The answer is NOPE.

Then there’s more of this:

“Consider the snow globe. Consider the mind that invented those miniature storms, the factory worker who turned sheets of plastic into white flakes of snow . . . consider the white gloves on the hands of the woman who inserted the snow globes into boxes to be packed into larger boxes, crates, shipping containers. Consider the card games played belowdecks in the evenings on the ship carrying the containers across the ocean . . . Consider the signature on the shipping manifest when the ship reached port . . .”

And my reaction of: “SOOOOOOOOO BORING!”

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I didn’t like it . . . but everyone else did, so I say give it a shot. And if you end up disagreeing with my opinion????

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Ha! Just kidding. If you want an actual review that gives a well-stated counterpoint to this one (and uses words instead of pictures to do so), check out Kaora’s.

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