Ms. Mandel describes her book thus:
“My fourth novel is about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North America. It’s also about friendship, memory, love, celebrity, our obsession with objects, oppressive dinner parties, comic books, and knife-throwing.”
The book jacket shares:
“An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, from the author of three highly-acclaimed previous novels.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.”
Another synopsis to pique your interest:
The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
Civilization has crumbled.
A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
Moving backwards and forwards in time, from the glittering years just before the collapse to the strange and altered world that exists twenty years after, Station Eleven charts the unexpected twists of fate that connect six people: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan — warned about the flu just in time; Arthur’s first wife Miranda; Arthur’s oldest friend Clark; Kirsten, a young actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed ‘prophet’. Thrilling, unique and deeply moving, this is a beautiful novel that asks questions about art and fame and about the relationships that sustain us through anything — even the end of the world.
- Arthur C. Clarke Science Fiction award winner, 2015
- National Book Award Finalist
- PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
- Longlisted for the Bailey’s Prize (formerly the Orange Prize) and for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
- A New York Times bestseller
- An American Library Association Notable Book
- Named best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly and BookPage
- Chosen as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, TIME Magazine, TimeOut New York, and other publications; named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O Magazine, The Huffington Post, and several other publications; #2 on the Publisher’s Lunch Best of the Best Books of 2014 list; the 2015-2016 Great Michigan Read selection; a Texas Library Association Lariat List book; a Barnes & Noble Discover pick; an Indie Next pick; by all accounts kind of an unsettling read on an airplane