Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Published by: Harper Collins Canada

Published on: September 9th 2014

Pages: 333

Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Literary Fiction

Purchase:  Amazon   Book Depository    Chapters

Summary                        

This book is hard to summarize because it has a lot going on and is kind of all over the place but I will do my best.

Our civilization has collapsed after a deadly flu wipes out the majority of the population. We follow a cast of characters, seeing the lives they lived before the flu, what happened during the pandemic and fifteen years after.

 

My Thoughts                     

This book has soo much love surrounding it, everyone raves about how amazing this book is and I honestly don’t get it. I’m not saying it is a terrible book and I hated it because I didn’t I just thought it was ok. I guess I am just missing what everyone else is seeing and that’s ok, it happens.

One of the things that set me up for not loving this book is that it is quite different than what I imagined. Many people when describing this book is they say it is a dystopian and when I think dystopian I think of a society that is being oppressed by government or an individual. And I thought that individual was going to be this prophet but that wasn’t the main focus of this book and not a lot of time was spent there. I think of it as more post-apocolytic Instead the book focuses on a few characters and their lives before and after the flu. And each of the characters are in some way connected to a famous actor Arthur Leander.

Cons

  • I felt like something’s were poorly explained like the disease that wiped out the world. Also, everything went off the grid within a few days, I just didn’t find that very believable.
  • My main issue with this book is I didn’t connect with the characters and so I didn’t feel for them or care about their stories. I also found it confusing when she would say a side characters name and then call them by the instrument they played other times, I just didn’t know who was who half the time.
  • There are certain items that a character has kept that marks the end of the world for her and these items hold importance in the books themes and connects the characters. And in the end when it is revealed how the character received these items and the connection it was just not satisfying to me and I was like what is the point.
  • What is the point is how I felt about this book, there was not much going on and I guess the point of this book is to answer the age-old question “what is the meaning of life” and “what makes us human” and I think her exploration into those questions fell flat for me.

“If you are the light, if your enemies are darkness, then there’s nothing that you cannot justify. There’s nothing you can’t survive, because there’s nothing that you will not do.”

Pros

  • Well written.
  • I loved the atmosphere the author created for the post-apocalyptic scenes
  • I enjoyed reading about places I am familiar with since I live in Southern Ontario.

“No one ever thinks they’re awful , even people who really actually are. It’s some sort of survival mechanism.”

I have to say I am a little sad that I didn’t see what everyone else did while reading this book. Have you read Station Eleven? If you have let’s discuss in the comments below.

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The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

Published by: Scribner

Published on: July 31st 2012

Pages: 343

Historical Fiction

Purchase:   Amazon    Book Depository   Chapters

Summary                               

Set in the late 1920’s Australia, Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel live a sheltered life on a small island where Tom is the light keeper. Being the only people on the Island it is easy to lose ones sense of reality. And when a boat is washed up on shore with a dead man and a crying baby, Isabel sees this as a miracle and wants to keep the baby where as Tom wants to report it. Since, Tom feel he owes Isabel this happiness they don’t report it and raise the child as their own. But when they go back to shore their sense of reality returns and begins to weigh heavily on Tom’s conscience. Continue reading “The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman”

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Published by: Bond Street Books a division of Penguin Randon House Canada Limited

Published on: June 7th 2016

Pages: 305

Historical, Literary Fiction

Purchase: Amazon   Book Depository      Chapters

Summary                          

Homegoing is a profound generational saga following the descendants of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi. The sisters live in different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana where Effia is married off to British slave trader and Esi is sold into slavery. The British colonization of Ghana and war between villages will shape the descendants of Effia’s and the affects of slavery and racial discrimination will shape Esi’s.

Characters                         

Each chapter is from a different characters perspective, so in total their are 14 characters.  Yaa Gyasi is a skillful writer to create such real characters in such a short time we spend with them. Obviously I not going to give an overview and my thoughts on all of them but I thought it is important that I do Effia and Esi.

  • Effia Otcher was born on the same night a fire raged her village and because of that the villagers say she was born of the fire. She grows up unloved and beaten by her mother and the beatings are only made worse as she grows more beautiful and eventually is known as Effia the beauty. She is an obedient daughter despite her mother’s beatings and always tries to make herself seem small as to not be noticed. I liked Effia’s character and felt for her and her terrible living situation.
  • Esi Asare birth was greatly celebrated by her parents and grew up in the warmth of her parents love. Esi is spoiled by he parents love but remains sweet. I also liked Esi character and would have liked to kept on reading her story.

My Thoughts                       

I listened to the audiobook and read along with the narrator because I wanted to get the names correct, I knew I wouldn’t be able to pronounce them correctly even though it is just in my head. I did like this approach to reading the story even though that is the reason why it took me so long to finish. I started this back in April and finished it in June, for whatever reason I found it difficult to set a time to put the disc in and read. So, it wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying the book because I did, very much so. I believe this is the type of book you take your time with anyways, to allow yourself to be fully immersed into the story.

Homegoing is not your typical novel, there are two veins to the story, and each vein flows into one short story, following a different generation to the next And even though each descendant’s story is complete and is wrapped up nicely to get to the heart of the story the book must be read as a whole. It is ambitious to write a novel like this for any writer but especially a debut one but Yaa Gyasi executes it like a pro.

“I love my people, James,” she said, and his name on her tongue was indescribably sweet. “I am proud to be Asante, as I am sure you are proud to be Fante, but after I lost my brothers, I decided that as for me, Akosua, I will be my own nation.”

Cons

  • I would have liked to have seen a date at the beginning of eachchapter. That way you know what time period you will be in before you start reading that characters story.
  • Since each chapter is a new POV you don’t get to spend much time with the characters as much as I would have liked to have.
  • The ending was a little too perfect and Hollywood-esque but I don’t hate it.

“The white man’s god is just like the white man. He thinks he is the only god, just like the white man thinks he is the only man. But the only reason he is god instead of Nyame or Chukwu or whoever is because we let him be. We do not fight him. We do not question him. The white man told us he was the way, and we said yes, but when has the white man ever told us something was good for us and that thing was really good?”

Pros

  • I loved the writing style. She is a natural and I was captivated by every word.
  • I thought that each character’s narrative was well done. I never felt confused by who descendant it was. And even though I could have kept reading their story I thought that each chapter ended perfectly.
  • Even though it is a slower paced novel I never felt bored and interested in reading the next generations story.
  • I appreciate that the author was able to write a story about slavery and racial issues without sounding preachy
  • It is a strong and impactful novel that often times had me in tears by the injustice of it all.

“What I know now, my son: Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home.”

It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel, it is well crafted and a beautiful work of literature. I highly recommend you pick this book up if you haven’t already.

4.5 Stars

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