CBR11 BINGO: Cannonballer Says
Since CBR6, Cannonballers have been (mostly) raving about this book. It was a CBR7 book club selection, faintingviolet read it more than once and the list of Cannonball reviews is over 34 and spanning CBR6 to CBR11. My eyes began to blur while attempting to calculate it. Suffice it to say, it is a looooonnnnngggggg list. Caitlin_D said that she was “late to the party” 3 1/2 years ago when she read and reviewed it. Maybe that makes my review the renaissance of Station Eleven?
I don’t want to shirk my review responsibility, but I don’t know that there is much more that I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said here at CBR. It’s also a book that you don’t want to give too much away about. It’s not that there is a lot of spoilery information that could be given. The plot doesn’t hinge on any big reveals, necessarily, but it’s such a rich text and I wouldn’t want to ruin the experience of reading it for anyone.
There is a ton of dystopian fiction floating around these days. Some good, some not so good, and some just too derivative and predictable. A good old fashioned pandemic is the perfect catalyst to show us all what we are made of. How and if we choose to carry on. What kind of meaning, if any, we feel compelled to give to such a catastrophic event. What religious zealotry or power structures will rise up. Who will choose to embrace lawlessness and who will strive to rebuild a better world.
Mandel’s book is no different and does sometimes feel a little similar to bits and pieces of other books, graphic novels and television programs that fall under this genre. What I think Mandel does differently here, is she just leaves us to it. There are no flesh eating zombies. There is no sort of religious cleansing a la “The Leftovers.” Most of the population gets sick and dies but a precious few do not. Those precious few are taxed with figuring out not just how to survive but how to thrive. Mandel’s post pandemic world focuses on history, art, music, and theatre. A Star Trek quote, “Survival is not enough”, is a mantra. Most of the characters are trying to build relationships with other people, not just for survival but for the sense of connectedness. In a new world without electronic devices, social media and celebrity, there is finally room to see and be seen.
It’s a great book and lives up to the hype. If you haven’t read it yet, just do it. Better late to the party than not at all.