Publish Date: 06/02/15
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
A National Book Award Finalist
A PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.
Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.
I read this with a bunch of people on Instagram for a buddy read and was excited. I’ve had this book on my shelf for quite a long time so I was really excited to join in and read the book. I’m usually not a fan of dystopian novels. I don’t really like them and am usually quite bored with them. This was very different. I enjoyed every moment of reading. I didn’t even have to finish the book until the end of the month and I had finished it before we even had our first discussion scheduled.
I really loved how characters connected throughout the story. I was always interested to see what was going to go on no matter who was being followed in the story or when it was taking place. The book was very thought-provoking and eerie imagining what the world would really be like had any of this ever happened. I was also shocked to think about how the media and pop culture really influences our lives more than I realized. The characters reference pop culture so much and it’s really something that defines their eras. It was interesting to see.
The only thing I wanted more of was more of an explanation for some of the characters at the end. It was overall tied nicely at the end but I still had some questions that I would have liked to get answers for. I also would love to see more of these characters.