The Glass Hotel

The idea that there are multiple universes where we all live out different lives may be true in physics, but it’s really only applicable in fiction. There’s no other way to get any insight into what those lives might be except through using your imagination. Practically, it doesn’t matter what would have happened if I’d done something different with my life 20 years ago – all I can do is work with what I’ve got in front of me.

But if you’re Emily St John Mandel, and you’re not quite willing to let all of your characters from Station Eleven go, by all means, use parallel universes to allow yourself to have fun. (I’m not being sarcastic, btw. Really, this is also what fan fiction is for – what if x were different in this book that I love – and it’s a great way to explore a world or characters more.)

Truth be told, the repeating character isn’t a major one, and is only used in one of the side storylines here. The Glass Hotel is a hotel on a hard-to-get-to island off British Columbia. One of the characters bought it because he liked it – he had that kind of money – and then a different disaster that wasn’t the Station Eleven pandemic happened, the 2008 financial crisis. All kinds of things change after that. This is that story. Who owns the hotel in the middle of nowhere and who works there and what happens after it has to close?

I really loved this book, and I may have read it all in one sitting, which doesn’t happen that often. The Glass Hotel is great and I would recommend if you’re looking for a distraction from the current state of things.

This book is a brain worm

Station Eleven


What’s it about?
Station Eleven is three stories in one. It follows the lives of three people, before, during, and after a plague – the Georgia Flu – kills 99% of the people on earth. (Georgia the former Soviet Republic, not Georgia the state.) The pre-plague storyline follows an actor as he gets famous, and one of his wives. The during-the-plague story follows the paramedic who tries to save the actor who has a heart attack on stage the night the plague breaks out. The post-plague story follows the child actor who was on stage with the actor that night. It takes place 20 years after the Collapse (as it’s known in the book).

Why should you read it?
I can’t stop thinking about Station Eleven. I finished it almost a week ago, and the characters are with me. I think about Miranda, who wanted to be an artist; I think about Clark, with his museum; I think about the Frenchman stranded in Michigan starting a newspaper; I think about the lack of entertainment and information; I think about how tough Kirsten is; I think about Jeevan stockpiling food as fast as he can; I cannot stop thinking about becoming a survivalist – what if a flu came that killed people in 24 hours. How fast would it spread? Could I survive? What would life be like afterwards? How would we all react? There’s a scene where a person finds a group of people living in an airport. He starts crying, they ask him why. “Because I thought I was the only one.” It breaks my heart thinking about it. If I could give a copy of Station Eleven to everyone I know, I would. It’s that good.