Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
With her fourth novel, Emily St. John Mandel turns her craft to a post-plague future in which a wandering troupe of Shakespearean actors and musicians, the Traveling Symphony, preserves the cultural knowledge of civilization while scavenging for relics in abandoned towns and providing a link among disparate surviving communities. Station Eleven (Knopf, $24.95) portrays their daily effort to protect what is good and valuable in the midst of hostility, despotism, and insanity. The book asks how our origins determine our course and purpose in life and whether force, coercion, and fear—or art, imagination, and human decency—will save us. This is masterful and life-affirming fiction.