Last night was a beautiful night. The moon was full and reflecting gorgeously over the water. A ship was waiting off the coast with its lights on, probably waiting to pull into New York today. As I took in the scene, I was reminded Emily St. John Mandel’s novel STATION ELEVEN. In it, a character was sitting on a similar beach, yet in a country across the world and at a different time. Yet that beauty was shared. And throughout this novel, even at the worst and most tragic of times, beauty remains.
There are leaves holding several places in my copy of this book. I read most of this in the woods sitting by a campfire last week. The leaves mark places of the book I enjoyed—there are many. The leaves remind me of the rustic future Emily paints. There are no more airplanes, no more refrigerators, no more of our daily conveniences: the things that we so easily take for granted and let slip through our daily lives unnoticed. Poignant would be a great word to describe the effectiveness of this novel’s writing.
The characters are shown in various time periods: the fondness of yesteryear, the reality of today, and the glimpse of future, both cursed and hopeful. Connections are shared throughout, showing how one act precipitates another. There is a sense of tightness though the chapters are often broken in their order.
As with other great authors, but unique in her own voice, Emily St. John Mandel brings out the enriched, realness of each character and emotion. What stood out brilliantly in my mind are the simple things of life—the things from which produce happiness and satisfaction. Poetic would be another excellent word to describe STATION ELEVEN. It is not spare like McCarthy, but neither does it flounce in excessive verbiage.
In the end, my message is this: this book is about beauty, everyday beauty. Cherish it, embrace it, be it. Thanks to Emily St. John Mandel, we can see it.
Thanks to A.A. Knopf for sending this to me for review.