Beautiful, brutal, haunting, and hopeful, Station Eleven is the story of several people whose lives briefly touched or affected each other, before or after the apocalyptic fall of modern civilization due to a violently aggressive flu strain that wiped out an unknown but huge portion of humanity.
The part of the tale that serves as back story follows the famous Hollywood actor Arthur on his road to fame; in the post-epidemic part we meet Kirsten, with the present-day story playing out 20 years after the apocalyptic events. Their lives touched briefly during the last weeks of electricity, international travel, air condition, and internet as he, an aging actor, performed the role of King Lear in a stage production in which she, at eight years old, had a non-speaking part.
Arthur never lived to see life after the flu changed the way humans live their lives, but never the less his he is present decades later, as the mythological person who gave Kirsten the lonely child actor the graphic novel Station Eleven, given to him by its creator, his first wife. By the time we meet Kirsten again, twenty years into the new world, she has joined the Travelling Symphony – half orchestra, half theatre company – carrying her cherished and thumbed copies of Station Eleven close to her heart.
The two stories are silently interwoven, in fragments, flowing into and out of each other’s way, together telling av tale of regret, nostalgia, a fight to not only survive but to live gracefully, and, finally, hope.
I recommend it highly.