Saturday, July 15, 2017
For Lovers Of David Mitchell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fans of David Mitchell's novels--and I am one--should love Emily St. John Mandel's novel, "Station Eleven." This seems to be the age of dystopian fiction, so this work is right on the bandwagon, going back and forth in time, to a pre and post apocalyptic age, showing the world as we know it destroyed by a viral flu--credible--and all this seen by a disparate group of people, from an Olivier type actor and his wives, a child actress and her mature self, a friend of the actor's, and a paramedic. Each get separate stories, but all come together. Mandel's skill is keeping everything in focus. Her deficit is not knowing to end something; I started out loving this book, but, as well crafted as it is, the last thirty pages were a slog. The novel is just a wee bit too long winded, for its own good.
The title actually means something, and that revelation, and how it is tied together, is a brilliant literary stroke. So is the symbolic importance of a glass object with something inside. And just wait till it is discovered who "The Prophet" is. I was shocked and chilled.
"Station Eleven" begins, and ends, in a place I love--the theater. A company is performing one of my favorites--"King Lear,"--and what is fascinating is that the director adds something at the start. He has Lear sitting in profile, on stage, before the audience, prior to the action. Before the actual text begins, a trio of little girls play a clapping game. They are Lear's daughters as children, and, during the storm/mad scene, they come back to him as hallucinations.
This completely fascinated me. In her acknowledgements, Mandel states this was based on a staging, by James Lapine, at New York's Public Theater. I have to do some research. I wonder who those actual child actresses were, and whether they went anywhere. When I find out, I will let you know.
The depiction of the apocalypse may remind some of the movie "Contagion." It had my teeth on edge.
Yet individual parts are better than the book's whole. Mandel should get off dystopia, like a lot of other writers should. I know we live in a dystopian age, but must there be constant reminders, like this novel????????????????