Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Station Eleven - review
I mean. I first read Station Eleven back in January and my first instinct - which I ignored for some reason - was to turn back to the front and start reading it again. The last time that happened to me I was an over-wrought 15 year old nerd (in the 1980s, before being a nerd was cool) and I had a strangely visceral response to the first Dragonlance book - Dragons of Autumn Twilight. That time, I did turn back and start re-reading immediately. There was something about it (Raistlin, let's be honest, it was Raistlin) that struck a chord.
FAST FORWARD MANY YEARS TO 2015. I got Station Eleven out of the library in January, expecting a good read but not expecting the book to come out of the gates and go OH ARE THOSE YOUR FEELS OVER THERE? LET ME GO AND KICK THEM FOR YOU. IS THAT YOUR HEART? AHAHAHAH IMMA EAT IT IN FRONT OF YOU AND YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE IT!
But ... that's what happened.
Station Eleven opens with an acclaimed but troubled actor having a heart attack on stage in Toronto, as he is playing King Lear. What no one knows yet, is this is also the night that the Georgia Flu - set to destroy 99% of the world's population, is about to be unleashed.
Station Eleven goes back and forth in time, ranging from well before the epidemic, to the world afterwards.
What I love - one of the things I love and I love ALL THE THINGS is that it's not your typical post-apocalyptic novel. There's a prophet, yes, who's set himself up as a kind of Randall Flagg character but what's beautiful is the prophet isn't even a MAIN character. He's an inconvenience, a thorn in people's sides. He does cause antagonism and tragedy for some, but he drives nearly none of the action of the plot.
Although ... mmmm ... plot is the wrong word. Station Eleven is about the characters, and how they interweave in unexpected ways. And also about how life and art and creativity can be celebrated, even in a post-apocalyptic world.
For me, the best, saddest, most heart-wrenching part of the whole book is Clark, and his Museum of Civilisation. It struck something deep in me and honestly I'm thisclose to standing on a street corner and throwing copies of the book at people.