Sunday, November 30, 2014

A book response

9:28 p.m. – I just finished reading Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven. Wow. What a beautiful book. I should have read it all in one gulp the day I checked it out of the new fiction section of the library, but I knew the minute I read the first chapter that if I didn't set it down and hide it from myself, keep it in places where I could only read in snatches, then I wouldn't have made it through the flurry and scurry of the second half of November. All I would have done is read. No writing, no baking, no visiting, no hanging out with daughter home from college

The book is due tomorrow, and my library kindly sent a notice reminding me that it's due, so I read the last hundred pages this evening. 

This book. I think I will return it and wait until the circulation desk checks it in and check it out again if there are no holds on it (since it's new fiction, I couldn't renew). 

I want to live inside this book. I want to dream it, eat it, bathe in it. I’d say that I wish I’d written this book, but I’m not that kind of storyteller. I'm a small writer who works in small increments: a single family, a year at the most, one town. But I adore reading large, grand-scale novels that pass through time and place, that go backward and forward, that introduce a lot of characters but never too many at once so I don’t get confused.

I love Mandel's language, the lyricism of her prose, the characters who each have distinct voices, so distinct that I could hear the timbres in my head as I read.

I love the remembering and the forgetting. I love the love, the community, the losses. I love even the way we were with some people as they died, their dying like adventure, not fearful, maybe something like what happened to my father when he died.

I love the character names, the town names, the movement, the music, the rhythm, the hope, the hope, the hope.

And this is why I don’t write book reviews. I can’t review books, especially not ones I love. All I can do is respond.

Read this book.

(note: as I said, I don't review books, so no "recaps" from me.)


  1. It's gone onto my list on the strength of this. thank you for expressing it so strongly.