Hey everybody! Sorry for my absence last week. My show closed and final weekends are usually hectic. Plus, I almost met Trevor Noah, but missed him because I kind of had to go on for the finale… Blah. I did wave and blow him a kiss. Both of which were returned. *Fangirl squeal*
Anyway, I had to go back in my reading journal to figure out what I hadn’t covered yet and I cannot believe I didn’t pair Emily St. John’s Station Eleven! It’s really wonderful, you guys. Of the books I’ve read so far this year (the count stands at 15, btw), this is my favorite. I don’t really know what genre it would go under because it’s sort of post-apocalyptic, but it somehow doesn’t have that dreary dystopian feel to it. It’s beautifully written, jumping between timelines and characters in a way that – for many authors – usually comes across as confusing and overly ambitious, but by gosh this story is so perfectly interwoven and well-structured I couldn’t put it down.
It begins with a play – King Lear to be exact – in a time much like ours where electricity and running water are the norm. As an actor dies onstage so too do dozens of people infected with the Georgia Flu, an outbreak that is on the verge of taking out 90% of humanity. This book imagines a world in which cars, trains, and planes do not run, in which electricity is a myth of the past, and Shakespeare remains the greatest link to civilization (now you see why I liked this book so much).
There are a handful of wonderful characters that track the changes faced by those who lived through the Georgia Flu, with the central plot revolving around a traveling symphony that brings music and Shakespeare from territory to territory. Kirsten Raymonde is the central character, an actress who performed in a production of Lear at a young age before the end.
Honestly, it’s a difficult book to explain, because it has lots of wonderful throughlines that intersect unexpectedly, delivering a story that is about the persistence of humanity and art above all. Please read and enjoy. It’s gorgeous.
As for the pairing… Go for a simple, local wine. It resonates with the story, drinking something that comes from your area and is probably made in small batches. There’s still some alcohol after the fall of civilization, but I guarantee you there won’t be as wide a selection as there is at Total Wine.