Book Review of Station Eleven

Station Eleven
reviewed on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6


I was a bit disappointed in this book. I had read many of the glowing reviews and am aware that it was nominated for a number of book awards, so I was expecting a five-star book. At times, it felt like it could be, particularly when dealing with the conflict between the "prophet" and the Traveling Symphony. Those parts were suspenseful and kept me reading. Other parts, though, were really pretty boring. I didn't get the large amount of space devoted to Arthur, the aging actor in the pre-apocalypse parts of the story, He does provide a connection between some of the characters, but his life story just doesn't do anything to establish any empathy in the reader.

Other reviewers talked about humanity's inarguable need for art to make us human, but I didn't feel this theme was developed well enough. The Symphony travels around performing Shakespeare and giving concerts, but other than some of the audience crying during performances there really doesn't seem to be any effect to their performances. Another character sets up a museum of pre-apocalypse items in an airport, which people eventually come to see and/or contribute artifacts to the collection. However, again there is no sign that this has any effect on anyone.

The last aspect of the book that left me wanting was the Station Eleven theme. One of the characters published two science fiction comic books about a place called Station Eleven and a character named Dr. Eleven. There were some slight similarities between those comics and the post-apocalypse world, but if the book is named after one of those comics there should be a much stronger connection. I just didn't get that part of it.

I gave this book three stars because, for the most part, it kept me reading. I was curious to see if or how the world would recover from a very plausible disaster. The vital part that art would play in such a recovery was just not clarified enough for me.