One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. (Amazon)
Reviewed by Jessica Day George: author and Bookshop Talk host
This is a perfect novel. A masterpiece. I’m quite hard pressed to tell you anything else about it, except that you should read it. All of you. Any of you. It doesn’t matter what kind of book you normally like, if you like good writing, you will like this.
No, you’ll love it. You’ll love the characters both in spite of, and because of, their flaws. You’ll love the various settings, and the various timelines: past, present, and future. STATION ELEVEN is, quite simply, perfect. The characters, the shifts in time, the different plotlines, all come together in the end to form one perfect tapestry, a tapestry that tells a heartbreaking story of humanity that will stay with you long after you close the book.
Market: Adult fiction, but I highly recommend it for older teens as well.
Language: Some, including the f-word, but it’s not ubiquitous or gratuitous.
Adult themes: death (mostly from a pandemic, not graphic), adultery (happens “off-screen”), a religious cult.