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Book Notes: Station Eleven

Yes, I read a book about a pandemic during a pandemic. How unoriginal. I heard about Station Eleven on a podcast (forget which one) and it seemed interest and different enough to give it a try. I was looking for some fiction so decided to give it a try. I bought it as an Apple Book (enjoying that platform more and more for my ebook reading) and read it over the course of a few weeks.

Overall it was a good read. Easy to read and the characters were interesting. Mandel uses timeline jumps to great effect, filling the reader in on key background elements from the past immediately before they become relevant to the “main” timeline.

I would say this is a rather hopeful / cheery apocalyptic novel, if there is such a thing. But then again, my baseline comparison is The Road. Not many books more grim than that. Like most good fiction of the genre the story is really about how people relate to each other, in this case using a disease that wipes out 98% of the planet in what seems to be a few weeks, as a backdrop to explore how memory works, why we do/don’t get along with others and the importance of community / tribe.

Since finishing it, I discovered a more recent book from the same author, that uses some of the same characters, but is not a sequel or prequel. Rather she characterized it as an alternate timeline. Reminds me of using the same RPG character in different campaigns. Will have to add Glass Hotel to my list for the next time I am looking for some fiction.

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