Notes on “Station Eleven”

  Plenty of reviews favor Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, an apocalyptic novel whose narrative kills off 99% of humanity in a contemporary 21st century setting. I picked it up to read in tandem with Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. I can only note my response to the book [anxiety, chills, and wild thoughts] without formally reviewing it because I imagine that none of those reviews was written in the context of a nearly global viral epidemic, the fictional analog being Station Eleven’s device bringing about the end of the world as we know it.   The story … Continue reading Notes on “Station Eleven”

On Walks Through Autumns

Pico Iyer–journalist, essayist, unintentional (?) philosopher–quotes several thinkers in his book Autumn Light, an exploration of losses and other turning points in his life. Referring to Thomas Merton’s ‘Fire Sermon’ in response to death or estrangement among family and friends, he says life itself is a burning house. To what then can we cling? Merton’s answer: “Only the certainty that nothing will go according to design; our hopes are newly built wooden houses, sturdy until someone drops a cigarette or match.” An appropriate reference in the context of his return trip to his alternate home in Nara, Japan, where fires … Continue reading On Walks Through Autumns