“Consider the snow globe.”

June 2, 2017 @ 7:24 am | Filed under: Books

What happens when you read Station Eleven in bed before opening your laptop to Paris Agreement discussion: profound discombobulation. What are these fossil fuels you speak of? Here in Year Fifteen, electricity is a distant memory and the children have never seen a lit screen. Uh, like the one on which I’m reading this book, these posts. I’m addled. Somebody fix me a plate of wild boar.

He stood by the case and found himself moved by every object he saw there, by the human enterprise each object had required. Consider the snow globe. Consider the mind that invented those miniature storms, the factory worker who turned sheets of plastic into white flakes of snow, the hand that drew the plan for the miniature Severn City with its church steeple and city hall, the assembly-line worker who watched the globe glide past on a conveyer belt somewhere in China. Consider the white gloves on the hands of the woman who inserted the snow globes into boxes, to be packed into larger boxes, crates, shipping containers. Consider the card games played belowdecks in the evenings on the ship carrying the containers across the ocean, a hand stubbing out a cigarette in an overflowing ashtray, a haze of blue smoke in dim light, the cadences of a half dozen languages united by common profanities, the sailors’ dreams of land and women, these men for whom the ocean was a gray-line horizon to be traversed in ships the size of overturned skyscrapers. Consider the signature on the shipping manifest when the ship reached port, a signature unlike any other on earth, the coffee cup in the hand of the driver delivering boxes to the distribution center, the secret hopes of the UPS man carrying boxes of snow globes from there to the Severn City Airport. Clark shook the globe and held it up to the light. When he looked through it, the planes were warped and caught in whirling snow.

Related: How the United States Looked Before the EPA


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Comments

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  1. Lissa, I’m curious about your reaction to the book’s take on faith. There’s so much death to grapple with, and it’s interesting to me that there’s a clear need for beauty (as in Shakespeare and music), and so little focus on eternity. I loved the book and have thought about it again and again. Would love a good Station Eleven chat in your comments!

  2. Same! Also loved the book and found myself reading snatches out loud to my husband. But ultimately, it is a bleak vision. While there are moments of breath-taking beauty it is an atheistic view. There is no meaning or point after all, just the human will to survive. The many threads that we follow gradually mesh to show… there was no reason – it was random eg the genesis of Station Eleven. Religion is shown as a human impulse trying to make meaning, the practice of staring looking for light, the practice of collecting artefacts which over time accrue prestige and significance. But’s the unstoppable impulse to create a narrative that is the most noble and most flawed/misguided.
    However- I was left with a sense of awe that even though that is the best and the farthest the author goes with her ‘brave faithlessness’, I can’t help feeling that the characters she’s written defy her- they love and sacrifice and hope passionately. It’s like her head can’t allow her the solace that there might be a meaning but her hand has written what her dumb heart feels- that there is…

  3. I had heard of this book previously, but then it got lost in the suhffle — have now placed a library hold. Thanks Lissa! 🙂