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Powell's Q&A | September 3, 2014

Emily St. John Mandel: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Emily St. John Mandel



Describe your latest book. My new novel is called Station Eleven. It's about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304

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Customer Comments

Jill H has commented on (4) products.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
The Family Fang

Jill H, August 4, 2012

If you're so inclined, you could (as quotes on the cover indicate) read this book as a complex analysis of the nature of art. I was a little more inclined to read it (as quotes on the cover indicate) as a complex investigation of the nature of family. But mostly I just enjoyed the offbeat characters, bizarre situations, brilliantly surprising plot arc, and, most of all, quiet but elegant wit. Here's a paraphrased example: "He could count the number of times he'd had sex on one hand and still have enough fingers left over to make a complicated shadow puppet."
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This Must Be the Place by Kate Racculia
This Must Be the Place

Jill H, September 2, 2011

Reviews call this book "luminous" and "heartwarming" -- which would normally make me avoid it like the plague, since this usually means "sentimental" and "manipulative." But I read the ebook preview and liked it enough to read the whole thing. It's actually charming and quirky, and manages to ping your heartstrings without taking any easy emotional shots. Racculia does an especially good job with the teenage characters, but all her characters are convincing, complex, and affecting -- except the absent one, Amy, deceased wife of one Arthur and Mona's former BFF, around whom the entire story revolves. When I first finished this book, I loved it, and would have given it 5 stars. But as I've let it settle into memory a bit, I find that when I think back about it, the unconvincing dichotomy in the portrait of Amy -- on the one hand, she was the one most powerfully defining relationship in both Arthur's and Mona's lives, but on the other, she is slowly revealled to be a bit of a monster, selfish and self-absorbed -- leaves me feeling unsatisfied. Though now that I've written the word "monster" I realize maybe that's the point Racculia was aiming for, since Amy's passion since childhood has been creating animatronic film monsters, who are certainly both riveting and terrifying. But I'm not sure that insight makes me feel any better about the dichotomy, which is what dropped me down to 4 stars. Still a must read.
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Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries) by Adam Ross
Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries)

Jill H, September 1, 2011

If you're thinking of getting married, don't read this book: it will terrify you

If you're thinking of getting married, read this book: it will inspire you.

Paradox and duality are the heart of this stunningly weird book, whose leitmotif is the Escher picture of interlocking angels and devils that switch from one to the other depending on how you focus, and whose villain is named Mobius. It is the story of David Pepin's love for and resentment of his wife Alice, whom he may or or may not have killed, in “real life” and in the book he is writing about their life together. Interwoven with the tangled revelations of the facts and fantasies about their relationship is the story of Sam Sheppard, who may or may not have killed his wife in real “real life” and in the pages of this book ��" or is it in David's book? Also sprinkled into the unfolding is a riff on Hitchcock and how Rear Window's story of Jimmy Stewart's character's voyeuristic investigation of the man who may have killed his wife is an allegory for Stewart's character's desire to kill his own love interest; a fantasy on the part of the detective investigating Alice's death about the murder and dismemberment of his own wife; a description of how the living arrangements on Malaya promote non-violence; and much much more.

With precision and poetry, Ross captures life's big moments of passion; the small details of everyday existence; and the way marriage is lived along the complex interface between the two. Reading his book offers some of the same experience: tumbling around in a vortex of alternate histories while being riveted to page by a still moment of absolute clarity and simplicity.


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Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries) by Adam Ross
Mr. Peanut (Vintage Contemporaries)

Jill H, January 1, 2011

If you're thinking of getting married, don't read this book: it will terrify you.

If you're thinking of getting married, read this book: it will inspire you.

Paradox and duality are the heart of this stunningly weird book, whose leitmotif is the Escher picture of interlocking angels and devils that switch from one to the other depending on how you focus, and whose villain is named Mobius. It is the story of David Pepin's love for and resentment of his wife Alice, whom he may or or may not have killed, in “real life” and in the book he is writing about their life together. Interwoven with the tangled revelations of the facts and fantasies about their relationship is the story of Sam Sheppard, who may or may not have killed his wife in real “real life” and in the pages of this book – or is it in David's book? Also sprinkled into the unfolding is a riff on Hitchcock and how Rear Window's story of Jimmy Stewart's character's voyeuristic investigation of the man who may have killed his wife is an allegory for Stewart's character's desire to kill his own love interest; a fantasy on the part of the detective investigating Alice's death about the murder and dismemberment of his own wife; a description of how the living arrangements on Malaya promote non-violence; and much much more.

With precision and poetry, Ross captures life's big moments of passion; the small details of everyday existence; and the way marriage is lived along the complex interface between the two. Reading his book offers some of the same experience: tumbling around in a vortex of alternate histories while being riveted to page by a still moment of absolute clarity and simplicity.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



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