Station Eleven Summary

Station Eleven is a 2014 novel centered on the outbreak and aftermath of the Georgia Flu, an apocalyptic global pandemic.

  • The night of the outbreak, photographer Jeevan Chaudhary unsuccessfully tries to revive Arthur Leander, a Shakespearean actor who dies of a heart attack onstage.
  • Twenty years later, Kirsten Raymonde, who acted alongside Arthur as a child, journeys through the depopulated Great Lakes region with the Traveling Symphony, performing Shakespeare.
  • After a confrontation with the prophet, a violent cult leader, Kirsten loans a treasured comic book by Arthur's ex-wife, Miranda, to Arthur's friend Clark and his Museum of Civilization.

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Last Updated on January 20, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1361

On a winter night in Toronto, Shakespearean actor Arthur Leander dies onstage of a heart attack during a performance of King Lear. A small girl, Kirsten Raymonde, who is in the play, sees him die. A man in the audience, Jeevan Chaudhary, tries to save Arthur to no avail. After the ambulance takes Arthur away, Jeevan's doctor friend calls him to tell him to flee town: a pandemic known as the Georgia Flu has hit. Instead, Jeevan goes to stay with his brother, Frank, who is wheelchair-bound.

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Meanwhile, Tanya, who is Arthur's girlfriend and the theater's childminder, takes Kirsten home. The producer of the play calls Arthur's lawyer, who then calls Arthur's best friend, Clark Thompson. Clark informs Miranda, Arthur's first wife, that Arthur has died. The pandemic is spreading swiftly.

Twenty years later, the Traveling Symphony of Shakespearean actors and musicians is on the move near Lake Michigan. Kirsten and her friend August are key players in the group. Kirsten collects clippings about Arthur Leander and carries two comic books about a physicist, Dr. Eleven, which she has memorized. She doesn't know where the comics came from.

Two years previously, Symphony members Charlie and Jeremy were left in the town of St. Deborah by the Water so Charlie could give birth. Now, the town seems eerie. Kirsten's ex-boyfriend, Sayid, plays Oberon opposite Kirsten's Titania. After the performance, Kirsten discusses the emptiness of the town with her friend Dieter and sets out to look for Charlie. One woman in the town explains that Charlie and Jeremy left because "the prophet" made advances to Charlie, which she rejected. Later, the Symphony meets the prophet, who says that those who leave without permission are counted as dead—and killed if they return. The Symphony swiftly leaves.

Miranda and Arthur were both from the same place, Delano Island, and their mothers were family friends, which is how they first met. When they married, Miranda acquired a Pomeranian, Luli. The Dr. Eleven comics were her special project; she never liked to talk about them (although Dr. Eleven had a Luli, too). One night at a dinner party attended by Clark Thompson, Miranda realized Arthur was sleeping with his costar, Elizabeth. Upset, Miranda was photographed outside by a paparazzo—Jeevan. She stole a paperweight from Arthur's study, and the pair soon divorced. Miranda returned to working in shipping and continued drawing her comics.

Kirsten now treasures these comics. She speaks to Diallo, a man who is interviewing all the Symphony members for a makeshift newspaper, about her past, which she can remember little of, and about the comics. She has never met anyone else who knows about Dr. Eleven.

After they leave St. Deborah, the Symphony realizes a little girl, Eleanor, has stowed away to avoid being married off to the prophet. She says that the prophet is from the Museum of Civilization at Severn City Airport and that Charlie and Jeremy went there.

That night, when on scouting duty, Kirsten hears a cry. Dieter and Sayid have disappeared without a trace. A search turns up nothing. Eventually the Symphony's conductor says that they must keep moving: Sayid...

(The entire section contains 1361 words.)

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