'Station Eleven' by Emily St. John Mandel: Discussion Questions


by Emily St. John Mandel explores the sudden collapse of civilization and the lives of a handful of characters in the years before and after the end of the world. It also looks at questions of meaning and art through the lives of several characters. These questions are designed to help book clubs have a lively discussion about the novel.

Thought Provoking Discussion Questions

Spoiler Alert: These questions contain details from throughout the novel. Finish the book before reading on.

  1. Did the story seem realistic to you? Realistic enough to frighten you? Why or why aren’t you afraid of the possibility of something like a virus wiping out most of the humanity and the world reverting to the dark ages?
  2. Did you suspect what the knife tattoos on Kirsten's wrist meant?
  3. Did you have any ideas about why symphony members, and then the entire symphony itself, disappeared from the road?
  4. When the prophet called his dog by name when leaving the performance of the Traveling Symphony at St. Deborah by the Water, did you recognize the name?
  5. At what point did you suspect or realize that the prophet was Tyler?
  6. Who was your favorite character and why? Did you have a least favorite character? (You can’t say the prophet.)
  7. What do you think the Traveling Symphony finds when they come to the place where Kirsten saw electric lights through the telescope at the airport? Do you think there could be large communities or even countries that have either been untouched by the collapse or have begun to rebuild?
  1. Arthur was never interested in Miranda’s Dr. Eleven comics. Why do you think the author chose to name her novel after the comic?
  2. What does the Star Trek quote on the side of the symphony’s van mean - “Because survival is insufficient”?
  3. One of the people Clark interviews describes her co-worker as a sleepwalker, bodily present but not truly there, fully aware, and later Clark thinks about this after many years in the airport. Do you think people suffer from this condition? In what ways do you see this?
  4. Did you like the way the novel flashed back and forth between pre and post-apocalypse? What was your overall opinion about the style?
  5. Rate Station Eleven on a scale of 1 to 5.