I’m the first to admit, some of my book reviews can be somewhat scathing (my treatment of Rogue Forces by Dale Brown and The Hook by Donald E Westlake come to mind). I think that’s because it’s often more fun to find fault than it is to fathom finesse, if you’ll excuse the alliteration. It’s certainly easier to pick holes.
That’s why this review of Station Eleven by Canadian author Emily St John Mandel is so difficult. If there’s one word I can use to describe it, it’s “effortless”.
Effortless in the sense that I was never obstructed by some forced narrative technique, or distracted by a clumsy phrase or metaphor. I was taken by the hand around this fictional world, the events of interest pointed out but never laboured over, and never was my hand squeezed too tight or my head shoved to examine something uninteresting. It was effortless storytelling.
That makes it difficult to analyse. It kind of washed over me, leaving an evocation of regret in its wake – for that seems to me the central theme.