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Books

‘Station Eleven’ author Emily St. John Mandel joins the L.A. Times Book Club May 19

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(Sarah Shatz; Knopf)

Emily St. John Mandel, author of the bestselling pandemic novel “Station Eleven,” will join the Los Angeles Times Book Club on May 19.

Mandel came out with “Station Eleven” in 2014, taking readers inside a world devastated by a global epidemic through the stories of a Hollywood actor and a nomadic acting troupe risking everything for art and humanity.

In March, she published “The Glass Hotel,” which turns on a massive financial crisis.

And now we’ve got both.

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“Something that became clear to me is pandemics are an inevitability,” Mandel said in a recent interview with former Times books editor Carolyn Kellogg. “This is not to minimize the horror or the tragedy in any way. But this is just something that happens every so often. It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again.”

The same goes for financial crises.

Her new novel, “The Glass Hotel,” is set at the intersection of two seemingly disparate events — a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea.

A key character was inspired by financier Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme came to light during the 2008 financial crisis.

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“ ‘The Glass Hotel’ doesn’t depict the end of the world, but it reinforces that idea,” writes Annabel Gutterman in Time magazine. “(B)oth books, in their ways, examine how we respond to chaos after catastrophe.”

Mandel has sold more than a million copies of “Station Eleven,” which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award. The book has been translated into 33 languages. “Station Eleven” also is the basis for an HBO Max series, which started production in Chicago last winter before the real-life pandemic crisis.

On May 19 Mandel will discuss both novels when she joins the L.A. Times Book Club at 7 p.m. for a virtual event that will be live streamed on the Los Angeles Times Facebook Page and on YouTube.

As her May 19 book club chat approaches, author Emily St. John Mandel shared her current obsessions, from favorite reads to tattoos inspired by her bestselling pandemic page-turner “Station Eleven.”
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The Times’ community book club began last year with live forums and shifted to virtual meetups after the coronavirus crisis hit. Recent virtual book club events featured authors Steph Cha and Joe Ide talking about writing L.A. noir stories and author Fanny Singer and her mother, chef Alice Waters, discussing “Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories.”

For information about upcoming events, sign up for the L.A. Times Book Club newsletter.

Emily St. John Mandel, Susan Orlean, T.C Boyle, Marlon James and others share apocalypse reading picks.


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