Station Eleven is a book that meanders back and forth through time, providing clues to how each character is linked to the others in the post-apocalyptic world after the rapid and devastating spread of the Georgia Flu. The connections are hinted at and foreshadowed long before many of them are explicitly detailed, and it was good fun piecing the little snippets, all seemingly casual and inconspicuous, together.
This was a beautifully written book, definitely driven more by character than by the plot. St. John Mandel has a nice style; although the use of colons did become noticeable it didn’t quite manage to be intrusive.The writing was engaging with, for me, just the right amount of drifting tangents to concrete story. Having said that, I’m still conflicted on how I feel about the book overall. I enjoy character-driven books, apart from one thing. They have a tendency to just stop with no obvious conclusion as a more plot driven book would. The ending sentences of Station Eleven left me feeling quite disappointed and somewhat like I’d walked face first into a brick wall. There was still potential, as if the book I’d just read was some sort of extended prologue all intended to build up to the possibilities hinted at in the final moments.
Despite this, I’d still recommend the book and search out more of Emily St. John Mandel’s writing.
The Handmaid’s Tale is not a book I would call enjoyable. It was an interesting, thought-provoking read, and one I will probably re-read before the year is out, but I did not enjoy it. It’s a chilling read that made me very uncomfortable at times - when I realised Offred was not a weird sci-fi style name and meant Of Fred I actually had to stop reading.
It felt horribly realistic, especially with the descriptions of how everything began. Details like it being blasphemy to dare call a man infertile really clinched the world-building as a world where the woman have nothing left.
The style was a little confusing to get used to at first, as the book jumps between the past and present under our unnamed protagonist’s narration (speculation suggests her name is June, and this is the name the TV adaptation chooses to use) without much to mark it, but it works with the nature of the story and June’s circumstances.
I’ve been recommending this book left, right and centre, and feel it should be more commonly read - there are messages in it I think we could benefit from.
I was a little nervous going in about how much football would be in this book, but luckily football takes a back seat here to the romance. At first, I sped through this book and couldn't put it down, drawn in by the characters and their lives. However, by the end I wasn't putting the book down because it was getting repetitive and I just wanted it to be over. I enjoy a little bit of will-they-won't-they, but when it becomes really obvious they will, any more dithering gets boring. While the mystery aspects had a small twist, I had guessed it earlier, leaving the reveal and the consequent angst somewhat lacklustre.
Overall the writing was engaging and the plot suited the genre well. It was an easy read, not very challenging, but sometimes, that's exactly what you want.
I really liked this book.
It felt real, not because of the events, but because of how the characters felt. I've been in a sort-of long distance relationship and a lot of the feelings, worries, concerns, about starting one felt incredibly real and emotional. I read this whole book with my boyfriend in the back of my mind, despite the fact our stories aren't really that similar. The way these characters felt about each other, however, was. I even highlighted one line, which I never do, because it resonated with me so much - "I'd been counting wrong the whole time". When you only have a small amount of time with someone, a little change in plans can feel incredibly jarring. I loved how Elan and Caty's relationship developed. It wasn't instant and it wasn't immediately all-encompassing. They worked their way up through the weird friendship stage first. The section of text messages was beautiful, showing simple conversations that people who can't see each other have. It was a lovely quick way of developing the relationship.
Overall this book was very emotional to read, hit close to home, felt realistic, and I would definitely read other books by this author, and maybe more of the #romanceclass books.