- Fritzi Newton
Actor Arthur Leander has experienced a number of peaks and valleys in his lengthy Hollywood career. As he prepares to take the stage as King Lear in what will be his final performance, he’s hardly at the top of his game. Hard living and a separation from his only son have taken their toll, and Arthur succumbs to a heart attack as the audience watches. Kirsten, a young child also in the production, is traumatized by Arthur’s death and will remember this day far into the future.
The actor’s demise, however, is immediately forgotten by most as virulent flu quickly spreads across the world, killing 99% of the population. Briefly, the remaining survivors experience life as usual, but one by one they begin to lose everyday conveniences—running water, electricity, the Internet, and, possibly most importantly, communication with others.
In a struggle to survive, those left unscathed take one of two paths. They choose either to work together or make a decision to prey on others. In her latest novel, Station Eleven, author Emily St. John Mandel effortlessly transitions between the past and the present, making a solid connection between old and new characters. Ultimately, St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel attests to the resiliency of humankind.