Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, is a novel that follows the story of multiple characters before, during, and after a major pandemic. The story starts in a theater, where one of the actors in a play seemingly suffers a sudden heart attack. This part of the novel centers around Jeevan, a member of the audience of the play. Jeevan soon learns of the upcoming pandemic, though is left with many questions. The story then advances twenty years, to a world where the contemporary setting of the first section seems distant.
Twenty years after Jeevan attends the play, Kirsten, a young adult who has little to no memory of the old world, is a member of the Traveling Symphony, a group that performs for various settlements across what was once the midwestern United States and parts of Canada. Kirsten and Jeevan, along with every other character in the novel, are connected in some way. Arthur Leander, the man who suffered the heart attack just before the end of civilization, has direct connections to most of the characters, whereas others may never have met.
Despite following several different characters and settings, Station Eleven is incredibly polished and smooth. The transitions between settings are seamless. The writing is both simple to follow and thought provoking.
Station Eleven is an incredibly well written novel. The characters are rich and well developed. The story has strong themes. The plot has great depth. The novel has a good balance of seriousness and humor. The novel is much more than just a post-apocalyptic drama.