Rating: 5/5 stars
I could not give this book any less than 5 stars, and to be honest I think it deserves an even higher rating. I’ve honestly never read a book like this and I think when you come across those kind of books you either hate it or you love it. And it’s obviously clear which way it went for me.
I can’t really say too much about this book in a non spoiler way because I think it’s just one of those books that you should go in to without knowing anything that’s going to happen. That is what I did, I mean I’d been hearing nothing but praise for it all over booktube and when I saw it in the library I didn’t even think to glance at the synopsis. But for those of you who are interested, here it is:
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
ON TO THE SPOILERS
So I was hooked from the very beginning, I mean the book starts with the death of Arthur and that’s such an interesting way to start off a story so props to Emily St. John Mandel. And speaking of Arthur, it’s very interesting how we get to know him because he’s dead before the story even begins but we still get snippets of his life and although, obviously his death wasn’t the cause of the Georgia flu, it really was what sparked a chain of events. It’s one of those books that make you think of that because throughout everything that happens, Arthur is always at the center of the story, he’s connected to everyone else in one way or another and that just blows my mind.
And because of Arthur, and his ex-wives and especially seeing how his first marriage ended – it was just a really interesting look at fame. I mean from an outside perspective, simply knowing why he left Miranda, would’ve made me hate him but oddly enough I thought he was incredibly human.
I also really really like the character of Jeevan. I really enjoyed following him and how he prepares to deal with ultimately the end of the world that we know. And it was really interesting to see how the flu affected Kirsten’s life because we first see her as this devastated child actor and then we see her travelling with the symphony.
The writing is also incredible. There are so many quotes that will stick with me for a long time. My favorite being: “Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”