I thought I remembered much more of Station Eleven than I did; I had remembered it as a story of Kirsten and the Traveling Symphony and several scrapes with some religious extremists. I remembered Jeevan in the fortress of his brother’s tower. I remembered skulking through rotting schools and all-encompassing trees. What strikes me now is how immediately the sense of dread starts to kick in; there is no slow build; a statement about everything falling to pieces kicks in within the first chapter. Maybe I put aside the peril because I had read it during sunnier, Obama-era times. It all came rushing back full-force on this read-through, though. I could feel panic bubbling in me almost immediately. I felt my need to dig in and prepare for the worst despite everything that my rational brain was sending my way. Last time, I was watching from a distance. This time, I can smell their fear. Last time, I wasn’t taking active precautions. This time, things are very different.
All differences aside, I am pleased to remember that yes, story is as great as I fleetingly remembered. It forces beauty from chaos. It builds a world where you can hear the strains of the Symphony whispering through the trees. It makes you look out your windows and cherish the things that you can see, the things that still exist, the things that you haven’t thought about in years. There is nothing more that I can add to the many reviews of this book that have been posted both this year and throughout the years since initial publication, but I can say that last time it caught me in the brain while this time it lodged deep in my heart.
I am very much looking forward to the Book Club discussion.