Welcome to our first #CannonBookClub of 2020 – a return trip to Station Eleven. When MsWas and I discussed revisiting our first book club book six months ago we couldn’t have known what the state of the world would be when we got to March. COVID-19 is very different than the Georgian Flu, but it certainly gave us a new lens through which to view Emily St. John Mandel’s book.
On to the boilerplate: ground rules remain the same as they always have. For those of you who might be joining in for #CannonBookClub for the first time (hello new friends!) all are welcome. The topics are numbered, and we ask that you refer to them below by that number to help people find the conversation topics they are looking for. Please try to have only one or two topics per comment – it helps build conversation. If you are responding to someone else’s thoughts, please try to respond directly to them and also tell us about your own ponderings on the book. While we’ve never once had to use it and don’t expect to now, comments that are not germane to our discussion will be removed.
We will also be talking on our social media platforms over the course of the next two days, and in our Facebook group, Cannonball Read Book Chat, so feel free to wander over there throughout the course of today and tomorrow.
And now, the topics!
- Does the novel have a main character? Who would you consider it to be? Is there one character who becomes their most authentic self, whose story arc is most complete?
- How does Shakespeare’s The Tempest and other motifs coincide with those of Station Eleven?
- Connection and disconnection appear throughout the book, things have meaning because of the connections made to them, and the opposite is also true. Which characters embody those concepts most in the story?
- What is the metaphor of the Station Eleven comic books? How does the Undersea connect to the events of the novel?
- How do regrets fit into the larger scope of the novel? Other than Miranda, are there other characters who refuse to regret? Is that a good thing?
- It’s an interesting time to read a book about a pandemic (although, it’s always an interesting time to do so). What do you think, is the book more about humanity or the end of civilization?
- The novel is full of references to flying – and the Museum of Civilization is in an airport. Why are the characters so nostalgic for flight? Why are planes so important? What are they meant to stand in for?
- If “survival is insufficient,” what do you feel makes life sufficient enough to live? What gives the non-Symphony characters a sense of more than just survival?
- Station Eleven has been made into a mini-series scheduled to be released later this year on HBO, what do you hope to see in those ten episodes?
- The novel ends with Clark remembering the dinner party and imagining that somewhere in the world, ships are sailing. Why do you think Mandel chose to end the novel with him?
- Escape Valve: I’ve got thoughts and feelings I can’t fit into the other topics, meet me in the comments.
So, what say you my dearest Cannonballers?