station eleven, my review in today’s post-gazette / a chat from the front lines

Moon in trees

Moon in the trees, taken early in the morning, January 5, 2015.

This morning finds me awake well before everyone else in the house. In the dim light of the kitchen, I brew my first cup of coffee and fire up the laptop. Prime writing time, this is, and I know it is fleeting. I’m not caffeinated enough to resist Facebook’s temptations.

There, a status update from a once-upon-a-time boss now on the front lines of global initiatives to end HIV/AIDS. She has been traveling for two days, a blip in the timespan of this disease. We exchange a few brief lines and I marvel, as I often do, at this world that makes this possible, all of it: this work of hers toward a cure, our Facebook messaging across the shared skies between Johannesburg and Pittsburgh. My thanks for her work (now, then, always); this frigid January morning, her “sent from” locales changing with every message we relay back and forth on opposite sides of the globe.

It’s too early for the newspaper to be in the mailbox and too cold at 4:30 to venture out. Scrolling through the headlines online, I notice my review of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel has made the Books page. The first lines resonate.


By Emily St. John Mandel
Knopf ($24.95)

Station Eleven

It is a rare thing when a novel appears on nearly all the “Best of” 2014 year-end lists during the same year when its masterfully crafted plot is synchronized with one of the biggest news stories dominating the headlines.

Welcome to “Station Eleven,” Emily St. John Mandel’s best-seller in which 99 percent of the population has been wiped out within hours or — for the truly unlucky — days. The culprit is the mysterious Georgia Flu, unknowingly brought to the United States via virus-carrying airline passengers from Russia. (“But everyone knows what happened. The new strain of swine flu and then the flights out of Moscow, those planes full of patient zeros ….”)

Enough similarities abound with the fictitious Georgia Flu and the real-life Ebola virus to pique the interest of any wannabe conspiracy theorist. Any level-headed reader will raise an eyebrow and wonder what if … could this?  (Read more here: “Station Eleven: All the world’s a stage (for the plague)”

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One thought on “station eleven, my review in today’s post-gazette / a chat from the front lines

  1. Sue at Book By Book

    Hurray for you!! Woohoo!! So happy for you – I need to go read the rest of your review, but I love your strong start.

    I wish our local paper carried its own book reviews, but the News-Journal has always used AP or now USA Today reviews. I am determined to find more paying review markets this year, though they seem to be shrinking every year! Congrats!


    Book By Book

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