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Publisher's Summary

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse - the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. Now an original series on HBO Max

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

Look for Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel, Sea of Tranquility, coming in April 2022! 

©2014 Emily St. John Mandel (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"A unique departure from which to examine civilization's wreckage.... [a] wild fusion of celebrity gossip and grim future.... Mandel's examination of the connections between individuals with disparate destinies makes a case for the worth of even a single life." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Following three smart, voicey thrillers published with a small press, Mandel makes the leap … to ambitious, fantastical storytelling." (Boris Kachka, New York magazine)
"[An] ambitious take on a post-apocalyptic world where some strive to preserve art, culture and kindness.... Think of Cormac McCarthy seesawing with Joan Didion.... Mandel spins a satisfying web of coincidence and kismet.... Magnetic.... a breakout novel." ( Kirkus)

Editorial Review

Celebrities are a staple feature in our lives today, but what if the world was to end? The premise of the demise of humanity brought forth by a pandemic is nothing new, but the nuanced and uplifting tone of Station Eleven offers a welcome departure from the typical apocalyptic dystopia.

Emily St. John Mandel, a Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlisted Canadian author, explores the question: What would happen to the arts if civilization as we know it ended? In Station Eleven, she provides a glimpse of a post-apocalyptic travelling theatre, where small communities of survivors have kept the music and the arts alive. Mandel flicks back and forth in time and between characters, following how their lives change in the wake of the pandemic, and eventually interconnecting their seemingly unrelated stories. Though their lives will never be the same, artists and actors continue to pursue their passion even in seemingly impossible circumstances.

Station Eleven has been widely acclaimed by critics for its originality both in terms of storyline and writing style, earning a place in the National Book Awards finals and a spot on The New York Times Best Seller list. Thanks to its popularity, it has been adapted and aired as a ten-episode miniseries on HBO Max.

The narrator of this outstanding audiobook, Kirsten Potter, is a three-time AudioFile Earphones Award-winner and lends her voice to Station Eleven. Her stable pace and beautiful tone make this an unforgettable listening experience.

Featured Article: Outstanding Female Authors Everyone Ought to Listen to

From rising stars to household names, female authors have contributed some of the best works of all time for our listening pleasure. Discover your new favourite author or revisit an old favourite with these audiobooks from extremely talented women.

What listeners say about Station Eleven (Television Tie-in)

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Fan. Friggin. Tastic

Loved this book! It is set in a post-apocalyptic world that still enjoys the arts and I am a fan of that! The whole story was amazing, I would definitely give it a read! #Audible1

4 people found this helpful

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Perfectly Prescient

Maybe starting this audiobook during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 wasn't the smartest decision but if I was worried a book about a flu pandemic sweeping my country (Canada) would make me anxious, I was wrong. The beautiful written book actually eased a lot of my anxieties about the end of the world but showing me that no matter what, people find a way to make community. The book was clever, well-written, and complex both emotionally and technically. I loved it!

3 people found this helpful

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Kind of Lame

I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t. It only really surface touched the topics. Not enough real story.

2 people found this helpful

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Zombies would have made this story MORE realistic.

Zombies would have made this story more realistic. The writing and prose was of a high quality but the story was eye-rollingly cliche with nothing new or fresh to offer the genre. Every single character was beyond insufferable, I didn't care what happened to any of them. i rooted for death for the protagonists because they deserved it and in the end I didn't make it half way through this colossal disappointment.

The performance was also just mind grating terrible. The whole project was insufferable.

2 people found this helpful

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Not recommended

I rarely give up on a book. Just could not go on any longer with this one. Certainly should not be in the Sci-fi category.

1 person found this helpful

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A Dystopian Future - A very creative story!

This book felt unique to me, and very real. I loved the dystopian theme, and the characters. At times the loose ties between all characters felt confusing, and there are definitely plot lines and background information that is not brought to a close. However, overall, it is certainly worth a read. The ending is lovely.

1 person found this helpful

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I don’t get it

Aside from the intricate tie in of all the characters lives, I’m a loss for what this book was really about. I think it was really good, but couldn’t tell you why.

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No point

I failed to see the point of the book. People who crossed paths with each other before the end of the world ended up crossing paths again years later after the end of the world. There save yourself the 10hrs and the credit because that is the story.

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  • Nic
  • 2021-11-14

Not as gripping as I was expecting

Based on the number of stars and high praise from other readers, I was perhaps expecting more than I got. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderfully written book, but the story was too slow or more like it was non-existent. I found it to be a long-winded description of how a bunch of people live in a post-apocalyptic world. No suspense, no real story, I didn't care much about the main characters.

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Spectacular

Beautiful storytelling, and oddly comforting despite how the world currently is. I came back to this over the course of the year, having started in April 2020, and enjoyed the escapism into a world that wasn't all right, but was okay. Lovely.

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  • Beth
  • 2020-02-28

Thought I'd never get through it

The only reason I finished this book was that it was a selection for my book club.

Too many disjointed scenes... too many characters with no apparent connection to one another.

I have so many questions..

Why did it matter that Arthur died on stage and Kirsten was there when the virus began? Why did they keep going back to that?
Why did some people have names, and others were "the guitar, the flute"?
I get the "survival is not enough" theme.. but really.. a traveling band of folks performing Shakespeare (but calling themselves "The Symphony")?
Who and why was the prophet?
What did the Station Eleven stuff have to do with anything? (Why is that the name of the book)?

Most of all..

WHAT WAS THE POINT???

I hope there is a LOT OF WINE at my book club meeting this Sunday....

Yeah.. sorry..

46 people found this helpful

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  • Ruth
  • 2016-12-19

No ending

I don't understand...I was enjoying this book, and just starting to care for the characters enough to wonder how it would all come together or why we had been following these particular people when the book suddenly ended!

35 people found this helpful

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  • CScott
  • 2016-12-20

An Alternative Dystopian Viewpoint

A masterfully executed dystopian novel from a feminine perspective. Although I am a fan of this genre of literature, I have yet to read (or listen via Audible) to one so rich in the description of human relationships in a post apocalyptic world. Maybe Margaret Atwood comes close. No zombies or AI units wanting to dominate the planet here, just folks trying to figure out what it means to be human in a brand new world. The primary adage of Mandel's work "survival is insufficient" says it all.

57 people found this helpful

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  • james
  • 2018-03-21

Symphonies, Caravans, Comics, and a Plague

Station Eleven is not the typical post-apocalyptic tale. Based on the quality of writing , it is considered "literary." While I didn't find the narrative overly compelling, Emily St. John Mandel does have a knack for descriptive scenes and character development. The author's tale of post-apocalyptic society revolves around a traveling symphony, a migratory convoy performing Shakespeare plays in the remaining small villages of America. The narrator of this audiobook, Kirsten Potter, does a excellent job and keeps the reader/listener engaged through what I consider to be a slow-moving first couple of hours. While most novels of the post-apocalyptic genre focus on the evils the deterioration of modern society must surely bring, Station Eleven focuses more on the hope that not all is lost. While the horrors of civilization's demise certainly occur within in the novel, these horrors are more of a backdrop rather than the focal point of the narrative. Station Eleven is an artistic version of an apocalyptic setting, an above average read for those looking for a change of pace. Overall rating: 4.11 stars

85 people found this helpful

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  • James D. Powers
  • 2020-07-06

Shallow

I read this because it is being assigned to the 2024 cadet class at the United States Air Force Academy. Not sure why. It is a very shallow dystopian read that never gets down to a larger message or point of any kind. Very bland. They would be better off reading Ayn Rands Anthem or Orwell's 1984...

16 people found this helpful

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  • Jan
  • 2015-06-08

Literary take on EOWAWKI...

I had great hopes as I started to read that this was going to be another well written post apocalyptic novel like "The Postman", "Silo Series, "On The Beach, "The Road", "Swan Song" or "The Stand" and knew not to expect a prepper view like "Jakarta Pandemic." I didn't find a new gem and would read all of the above again before this...

I can see what Emily St. John Mandel was trying to do and it had a lot of potential. Perhaps she tried too hard. I like woven stories with voices and time changing... but this was so tightly woven in places and loosely woven in others that I struggled figuring out who I was with in what time period and why. I might have done better with multiple narrators or reading it in hard print. I also didn't like most of the characters and almost turned it off because I didn't really care. I enjoyed the time spent with the traveling actors... but felt the results of the apocalypse were inaccurately portrayed and just didn't feel real to me.

Unlike other reviewers, I did enjoy the end and felt that as her loose strands were all pulled together and then left open she said something... worth reading... once maybe.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Melanie
  • 2020-02-12

Pointless. Boring.

It didn't end in a way that offered any satisfaction. waste of time. Hated it.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Kaui
  • 2017-11-23

a solid weekend read

This is another entry into one of my pet genres, which I affectionately call "books about books." This one is nominally sci-fi as it is set in a post-apocalyptic world where high-tech civilization has collapsed and in the ensuing, increasingly wild mid-west, a troupe of actors and musicians travel from town to town, performing Shakespeare and symphonies. King Lear figures prominently in the story. A child actor from the opening King Lear performance serves as the main protagonist; the child from the actor playing King Lear in the opening performance serves as the main antagonist. There are several interesting connections between the pre- and post-apocalyptic worlds that serve to entertain. This won an award when it was published and was very well-received. I found it on the light side, though fairly well-written. It is not terribly challenging in style, vocabulary or plot but does gently pull you into the story arc in a surprisingly effective way. Shakespeare resonates through this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Sam Green
  • 2019-10-10

A first rate, original and poetic work

Even if you're familiar with end-of-the-world stories like 'Earth Abides' and 'The Stand' this work is like no other. It's tempting to call it Canadian as Canada and American-Canadian issues are a part of the work but that would be inexact. It's a powerful work about time, Shakespeare, music, and love. The crisp delivery of the voice actor makes this particular production a gem.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Stacy
  • 2014-10-08

gah!

I was really into this story-beautifully written, interesting characters- then it just ended.

What the beep?

So I'm left to ponder what happened to all these people, and what was the real point of the book. I get it, I guess, but I seriously had no idea that the book was about to end when the "audible hopes you've enjoyed this program" came on. I wanted more! wahh!

128 people found this helpful

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  • Cheerioh
  • 2018-10-30

Surprenant mais on reste sur sa faim

Ce récit post apocalyptique sort de l'ordinaire. La grippe a faire des ravages sans précédent. La civilisation en a été furieusement modifiée. Le récit nous fait suivre divers personnages avant et après le moment de bascule et on suit une troupe de musiciens et facteurs Shakespeariens.

C'est surprenant parce qu'on ne s'y attend pas. C'est touchant aussi. Les personnages sont très authentiques, pas de gros bras, pas de sauveur. Très réaliste.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gringo
  • 2020-06-24

Wonderful

I really enjoyed this book! The caracters are very touching, the stories finely linked and the tempo and ambiance make for very nice reading/listening experience. While a story about life after a horrible pandemic might not be the smartest choice for amusement in mid-2020 (hehe), I truly loved the descriptions of the world after the collapse, the details, the ideas, and the detailled descriptions. The book left me uplifted and happy despite of its apparent desolate subject. The reading is very good, quiet but never boring, not too accent heavy but diverse.

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  • lévana
  • 2020-06-09

Beautiful

I'd heard about it, and was not disappointed. it was awesome, and I wish there were more pages.

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  • François
  • 2018-01-20

Great story

Loved the book . The reader is perfect. Very imaginative story, easy to follow. I recommend it

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  • Rinat
  • 2018-01-17

So beautiful, tellement doux.

I feel better about the world around me after listening to this book.
Thanks. Merci.