Englischsprachige Literatur

Mandel Emily St. John

Station Eleven

Picador, London 2015


The Canadian author studied dance before she started writing. This is her 4th novel and this reader here came across it at the right time with the Corona Virus all around us.

Here another virus, also from Asia, kills off almost the entire world population, leaving only some scattered groups and a totally collapsed civilisation. A popular topic and seemingly more than enough to write about on 333 pages.

But the author has another agenda, and another and another, one of them being a drama and orchestra team “the Symphony” travelling around Canada and performing Shakespeare to their sparse audience.

The reader has to put together the pieces of a puzzle of time fragments and those with the various protagonists, who enter stage and leave it in different time and place zones.

Mandel describes the “world after” like stages in a computer game where murderers roam with cross bows, travellers ride on horseback (What has become of all the bicycles?), hunters kill deer in a world of some fairy tale past. On the other hand a newspaper gets printed (how?) and babies have their pampers (from where?) even 20 years after the apocalypse.

The title is taken from a comic one of the heroines has been developing all her life. Pages of this comic keep popping up throughout the story.

Again you have to marvel at the complete and absolutely logical fantasy world J.K. Rowling has invented in her Harry Potter series.