Station Eleven is a literary look at the end of the world as we know it. A massive flu outbreak causes a societal collapse and we follow a unique cast of characters in two time periods, as the outbreak is happening and also in the future, once humanity has gained a foothold but hasn’t rebuilt the technological society that once was. Most of the book takes place in the near future, about 15 years later, following a small troupe of Shakespearean actors who travel from settlement to settlement, performing and entertaining in a world that can no longer communicate with each other. This wandering group of troubadours help spread happiness and news but when they come across what appears to be a town taken over by a cult, they begin to lose members of their cast. And they do not know where they are going and who or what is taking them. When the novel looks back to our current times, the author doesn’t criticize our way of life but rather writes what feels like a love letter to this time, right now, and emphasizes how people mourn the loss of contemporary living. Station Eleven was a finalist for for the National Book Award, and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, among numerous other accolades. This post-apocalyptic novel is an excellent selection for a book discussion and a good read for fans of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. You can find multiple copies in the new Book Club collection at the Ela Area Public Library.
Leah L. White is the head of popular materials at the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich. Visit EAPL.org for more book recommendations.