Category Archives: Part 1

Class Discussion #4: “People’s Choice Post” for ‘Station Eleven,’ Part 1

You know the drill: read through all reading response blogs for Station Eleven, Part 1, choose a favorite post, and explain the rationale for choosing it. Then share the post/excerpt/rationale by “commenting” here on this post. Don’t forget to link to the post you are citing (you can now hyperlink comments rather than just copying/pasting the URL: give it a shot!).

Comments should be made no later than Sunday, 10/8, and the one with the most votes will earn the coveted “People’s Choice” honor! As always, I’m looking forward to seeing what you choose, and why 🙂

Eye Of The Storm

This story is the most straight forward story we read this semester and i loved it.   I thought this story was about a play but instead its about what happens at a play;The main character in this play dies of a heart attack. The man that died is a actor named Arthur Leander in a play called King Lear by Shakespeare.  Even the way it was described while trying to act was for some reason to me beautiful to even picture in my head“He cradled his chest like a broken bird” (The Theater 1,3)  It introduces many characters and shows their emotion and parts of their personality in a very fluid manner that i really enjoyed. I love how they introduced Jeeven Chaudhary as this reluctant hero on a hero journey, almost like he was chosen to be there.“but in the first row of the orchestra section a man was rising from his seat.”(The Theater 1,3)I know this is a typical hero cliche to have a hero type come to try and save the day reluctantly but it was great because of the way the stage was described in was symbolic of a tragedy going to happen with the plastic snow constantly falling, it represents bleak situations and death. The other actors reactions were captured while  The crowd reaction was typical but what interested me was Jeevens relationship with his girlfriend.

She just is not a support for Jeeven as they get into dont see each others perspective on things. Its obvious that Jeevan and Laura don’t see eye to eye. They do not have good communication with each other, which shows how unhealthy and incompatible their relationship is. Jeevan and Laura’s relationship is not a good one at all. Jeevan and Laura don’t get along clearly. For example, “It was still possible at that moment that Arthur was acting, but in the first row of the orchestra section a man was rising from his seat. He’d been training to be a paramedic. “The man’s girlfriend tugged at his sleeve, hissed, ‘Jeevan! What are you doing?’” (The Theater 1,3). Laura should not be upset with Jeevan over his decision to help. She should know if she lives with him about his aspiration to be a paramedic. She should understand why he ran up to save Arthur when everyone saw that there was something off about the situation at hand. After all of that, seeing someone that he spoke to once in the past in an interview in his old job die right in front of him Jeevan discovered Laura went home without him. Why would someone do that to anyone if they weren’t already ready to leave from the beginning because she probably did not care to come in the first place. “His phone vibrated in his pocket. He stopped to read a text message from Laura: I had a headache so I went home. Can you pick up milk? And here, all momentum left him. He could go no farther. The theater tickets had been intended as a romantic gesture, a let’s-do-something-romantic-because-all-we-do-is-fight, and she’d abandoned him there, she’d left him onstage performing CPR on a dead actor and gone home, and now she wanted him to buy milk.”  By chapter 3, Jeevan gets info of the impending disease by his friend, Hua, a medic who works at Toronto General Hospital. Hua described the flu’s fast, widespread contagion based on what he witnessed in the hospital. People who were infected got worse and died in a short time. Hua told Jeevan to evacuate the city or to stock up on food and stay safe at home. Jeevan planned and prepared to stay with his brother Frank, who’s wheelchair-bound and lives in a 22nd floor apartment. Jeevan called Laura to warn her but she just wants to know where she has been.

Before the After

“this illness […] was going to be the divide between a before and an after, a line drawn through his life.” p.20

If it is possible, when I begin reading a new book, I like to ignore the blurb and go straight into the text. I find that the state of immersion is different. With Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, I found myself drawn in by the pacing, which seemed slow at first but almost immediately kicked off with conflict. Throughout the first part there were many instances where the past and it’s relation to the present is brought up. This leads me to believe that this will become a recurring theme throughout the novel, or the very least an idea of playing with our perception of time.

One of my favorite instances of perceptive play in Part 1 is on page 15 when Mandel misdirects the readers,

“Of all of them there at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest. He died three weeks later on the road out of the city.” p.15

The first sentence feels reasonable, a man just died, no one knows how long we have to live, except the omniscient narrator, of course. Finding out who outlived who doesn’t seem like irrelevant information, just a natural conclusion. The second sentence is what makes the information shocking, not only did the waiter die a lot earlier than the readers anticipated, they died on a road out of the city. This carried several implications with it and alluded to the soon to come apocalypse. Why was the waiter on the road? Why outside of the city? Why three weeks later? The fact that he dies within such a short time frame somewhere on a road leaving the city builds up to the conclusion we eventually arrive at, the waiter was trying to run away from the city, from the virus that was spreading like wildfire.

Another example of time within Part 1 of Station Eleven, is how much the past is talked about and how important details are often told through memories of the characters. There are multiple times that an epidemic from the past is brought up.

“You remember the SARS epidemic?” p.18

“It’ll be like SARS, […] They made such a big deal about it, then it blew over so fast.” p.25

We know from the get go that the new epidemic is not at all like the one from the past. This is the first mistake we see, the flu is not leaving anytime soon and treating it like it will is probably not the best course of action. The past isn’t helping the people address this a new problem, at least not so far.

“This was during the final month of the era when it was possible to press a series of buttons on a telephone and speak with someone on the far side of the earth.” p.30

This note is brought about from a phone call made to notify about the first death in the novel, no ones knows that these are the last weeks of known society. All these moments serve as premonitions for what is to come, warnings to an empty audience that can’t do anything about it. Chapter six is the clearest example of this, an incomplete list of all the things we miss. Places, things, services, all things we no longer have access to.

“No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in doing so, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.” p.32

The startling fear, that we suddenly find ourselves alone, “No more avatars.” nothing to hide behind, us whole but still feeling like pieces are missing, the human instinct and need for interaction.



How would you react?

The new age science fiction novel, “Station Elevenby Emily St. John Mandel takes an unexpected turn when a group of people, need to learn to survive during a flu epidemic.  The story starts during a play ” King Lear”, when suddenly an actor, Arthur, dies of a heart attack right on stage. During the first three chapters we are introduced to a few characters Jeevan, a paramedic trying to save the dying actorKirsten, a little girl who was witnessing this tragic event and a actress in the play. Also, Laura who is Jeevans girlfriend, and Hua, a friend to Jeevans who happens to be working in a hospital.

In the third chapter Hua tells Jeevan about aGeorgia Flueffecting his patients, during a phone call. According to Hua, this flu was no joke, on the other hand it was spreading very fast, leading to 37 deaths in Huas hospital. Jeevan was extremely worried and immediately wanted to leave the city. He got in touch his girlfriend Laura and brother Frank, to save them from about the epidemicLaura did not seem as worried, I actualy think she did trust Jeevan as much, “Jeevan, I’m concerned. This sounds paranoid to me.”(Emily Mandel, chapter 3). Maybe she thought he was just overreating. Jeevan was still quick to react and was determined to leave as soon as possible. Chapter five, brings us to Miranda, an executive at a shipping company, and one of Arthurs ex wives, he was known to have several of those. She was living in Malaysia when she receives a phone call about the death of someone she once wanted to spend her whole life with.

In chapter six everything suddenly disappears, “No more countries, all borders unmanned. No more fire departments, no more police. No more road maintenance or garbage pickup. No more spacecraft rising up from Cape Canaveral, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, from Vandenburg, Plesetsk, Tanegashima, burning paths through the atmosphere into space.” (Emily Mandel, chapter 6)”. This story started with a paramedic trying to save his family, and a women finding out about the death of her ex husband on the other side of the earth, to a world of absolute emptiness. A world left with nothing, but possibly  only ashes and dirt left. We are left to wonder what actually happened, could it be that this flu epidemic had done this. Destroying every part of our earth, or was this something else. Something far more scarier  than we could imagine. It makes you wonder for a moment, what if this happens to us one day no more countries, no more cities, no more light, no more anything. What if everything was about to change for us, how would you react?  Would you react like Jeevan, freak out and try to escape, or like Laura not even realizing what could happen .

There’s a storm just around the corner.

Reading through the first few parts of the book. I definitely found it interesting and got a liking for it as I kept on reading along and couldn’t stop there. The book itself opens with a weird setting for myself as I had to read carefully to understand what was really going on. We are introduced to the book with a theater scene re-enacting what is some sort of British play. The main character of the play goes by the name of King Lear and is played by Arthur Leander who later in this part we will sadly read into the tragedy of his death. Many were in distress after the event of his death, no one could understand at first what had happened and you could say there was a kind of panic for what was happening. The story further goes into a pandemic known as the “Georgia Flu” which would end up starting to cause panic and terror upon this city.

One thing I very much picked up on that I think would put itself in a significant place of the story would be the writing in of the snow that is used in the play. In the first part of the book, we read the following lines “Snow began to fall over the stage.” (Mandel 3), “The snow was falling fast around them, shimmering in the blue-white light.”(Mandel 4), “The plastic snow was still falling.” (Mandel 4) and final quote which was expressed by one of the characters themselves, Jeevan, “For god’s sake… can no one stop the goddamn snow?” (Mandel 6). From this, we can gather a few things from this, the snow was first mostly brought up in a time of distress where one of the lead actors on stage was started to suffer what is like a heart attack thus leading to death. We know that one of the assumed main characters of the story Jeevan was not very fond of the snow itself in time like this. Not only was the snow expressed throughout the story multiple times in the play it’s also snowing outside in the real world as we learn reading ahead in the book. Perhaps this could foreshadow some kind of storm or event that could change things very differently for the characters in the book. Generally, when I would read or watch other pieces of work in science fiction, when there is sometimes snow it can generally mean that something bad can follow along with it as a theme, to say the least. Even though snow is usually referenced as a refresher for the goodness of the world, that’s not always the case as shown in these types of work of fiction. Of course, this is my thought and understanding of any of this in the story and I may possibly be entirely wrong.

But upon further reading, we are introduced into the “Georgia Flu”, a disease that could cause severe sickness and kill someone within hours of catching it. This was not good, this was something that could spread really fast as it was described in the story and highlighted in the quote by Hui “We’ve admitted over two hundred flu patients since this morning… A hundred and sixty in the past three hours. Fifty of them have died…” (Mandel 18) What this shows is that within 24 hours, hundreds of people were infected, and possibly a lot more that are unknown and out there in the city. The city itself was evolving into an epidemic possibly into a pandemic across an entire country but that’s for us to learn further into the story.

The opening of the book in itself brings for a really interesting introduction for what we would class as mass chaos. What starts out as something peaceful in this case a theater play turns into the grounds for the death of one of the actor. Later on the city for which holds this such ground will have eventually turned into a graveyard for hundreds more within hours after the death of the actor. It’s something that for which I’ve read is unique and has caught my eye to keep on reading. I’m more interested in seeing how this epidemic turns out to the future of this city.

Worry About The Right Things At The Right Time!

In “Station Eleven” By Emily St. John Mandel (Part 1), survival skills are necessary in order to maintain stability, as well as the need to focus on what is front of one, not behind. Jeevan was devastated by what happened to Arthur. However, he knew he had to focus on the survival or both him and his brother, Frank.In the beginning, Arthur, the “king” in act 4 of “King Lear” collapsed which took place in the theater causing his loved ones as well as those who neutrally knew him to be truly saddened which shows his situation is affecting the lives of those who know him. Throughout the novel, it is indicated that Arthur is not only significant within the act itself but also in real life, where people such as Jeevan felt guilt towards the permanent outcome that took place. Due to Arthur’s permanent absence, nothing within the Elgin theater seems as though it’ll ever be the same. It is very common for Jeevan, the main character within the novel considering every event centralizes him to shy away from people, especially at the risk of being exposed to high amounts of attention. This novel truly is an attention grabber to me based on its ability to force me to want to know more about Arthur personally because the perspectives on Arthur were all from people he knew, not him. Also, the novel was set up in a way in which Arthur nearly starts off with the tragedy causing the rest of the story, for the most part, to be based on that tragedy or at least in connection to it.The same way we as humans go through tragedies that can sometimes mentally affect the mind and at the end always have to focus on what is in front of us is the same way Jeevan had to focus on what needed to be done although he knew deep down inside he felt pity for Arthur.

In the beginning of the novel, the tragedy in which took place was when “He stumbled”(Mandel,3) and when “Arthur wasn’t breathing”(Mandel,4). Arthur, the one who played the role of a king collapsed in the middle of an act and was running out of oxygen slowly but surely. This signals the idea that Arthur may have suffered a heart attack. This is significant because this is what led to the way Jeevan began to feel and think. For example, “The unfairness of it, his heart pumping faultlessly while somewhere Arthur lay cold and still” (Mandel,11). In other words, Jeevan felt it was unfair for him to have a heart that does not take any fault while Arthur lays somewhere, dying. This signified that Jeevan is a very caring and unselfish person because although he did nothing wrong in connection with the death of Arthur, he feels as though it is unfair that he is alive while Arthur is nearly dying. In order for someone to feel the pain of someone else as if they were that person even though it is not their responsibility, one must legitimately be a caring person. This connects to the overall argument considering this is what Jeevan had to take his mind off in order to focus on surviving.

Surviving became a challenge to the people in Toronto including Javeen when Javeen gets a text from Hou, who works at the ICU for sick patients stating that there was a flu going around and that it was”The fastest incubation period I’ve ever seen”. This means that this flu is the fastest that has ever spread from one person to another. As a result, the significance for survival is high because Javeen then prepared to protect himself from the flu since he “filled one of the oversized shopping carts with as many cases and bottles as he could fit” (Mandel,21). Javeen began shopping for food, and drinks which go back to show that although situations may affect one mentally, they have to move on. In this case specifically, however, Javeen had to accept Arthurs death in order to focus on surviving which in this case was staying with his brother. This connects to the overall idea considering buying a whole bunch of food and staying in his brother’s house was his way of surviving.

The ending of part 1 was the piece that stood out the most. In the last page, it is said that in the theater, there will be “No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in doing so, feeling slightly less alone in the room.No more avatars”. (Mandel,32). This to me truly stood out because when reading this it made me think about Javeen and his reason for making it seem as though he had little to no knowledge of the death of Arthur. Maybe, just maybe it was to not receive so many questions out of the curiosity of Arthurs death, causing Javeen to feel like the main focus. This is a valid point considering it is said within the novel that “he didn’t like crowds very much” (Mandel, 8). This shows why Javeen possibly didn’t say anything because due to him not enjoying the company of many people at once, it would make sense for him to give little to none reliable information on Arthur’s death causing everyone else to see Javeen as equal as them and as a result him not feeling overcrowded. This is significant in comparison to the thesis considering that he acts as though he knows nothing about Arthur’s death, which signifies him shying away because he knows the outcome if he were to have explained what occurred. it’d be a non-stop interview, exactly what Javeen opposes indirectly.

Overall, this novel is about Arthur dying and how it lead to the theater creating so many new changes. How the tragedy of Arthur brought about so many new precautions added to the theater to possibly prevent the same situation from occurring again. Also, it is about Javeen and the way he goes about prioritizing his main focus points. For example, he was saddened by the death of Arthur but decided to put his primary focus on surviving through the flu. This novel to me sends a message to the outside strictly declaring that one prioritizes their main worries in comparison to what it will take to survive physically. To me, Javeen was one who always put others before himself because when Arthur died Arthur was all that was on his mind and the unfortunate reality of it. Then, when came to fight the flu his main focus was him and his brother getting through this flu without actually catching it. Throughout the story not once does the narrator discuss Javeen expecting credibility or attention but in fact, discusses how unselfish and genuin Javeen actually is.

Forever Useless

Have you ever felt like you failed at something but strangely found that failure to somehow change your whole view of your future ? That is what happened to Jeevan, a paramedic in training who failed to save the life of a man who died of a heart attack. The novel Station 11, by Emily St. John Mandel from chapters 1-6 has been telling the story of Jeevan and then after the incident he had with the man who died. On his way home he had a sudden realization that gave him purpose, “Arthur died, he told himself, you couldn’t save him, there’s nothing to be happy about. But there was, he was exhilarated, because he’d wondered all his life what his profession should be, and now he was certain, absolutely certain that he wanted to be a paramedic.” (Mandel, Chapt 1). In one swoop Jeevan turned this negative situation into a positive outlook on himself in life which would be rare to see considering the ordeal of death that Jeevan had to see. Before this Jeevan had been living an unfulfilling life. Before his latest epiphany he was a bartender and a entertainment paparazzo and he was not contempt with either of those.

With his latest discovery i felt like he would go out in the world and save mankind (not literally), that was until he got a call from his friend. The brand new revelation is that a deadly flu called the “Goergia Flu” had spread wildly throughout the city and anyone can be at risk of catching it. It was at this moment that Jeevan did what any other person who would believe in an epidemic like this would occur would do, and that is flip the freak out. He immediately thought about his loved ones and how he may never see them again. Immediately I thought about how useless his character must feel to not be able to save anyone though Jeevan never stated that was how he felt. Though much like his prior trial he does not give in. He starts stocking up on supplies from the supermarket as the news of the epidemic is spreads. He was lucky to get the news before most people since his friend happens to be a doctor and is one of the doctors attending to the patients with the flu. If you thought that his friend would get sick from working close with these patients you are probably correct since the story seemed to have alluded to that. The story continued and he called his girlfriend, told her to leave town and is now with his brother with all of the stored food that he bought for precaution.

Even though he has a positive outlook on his life right now the narrative still portrays an eerie tone with death looming at any corner in the form of microscopic germs or bacteria. No one is safe as long as they are outside in a city. Living in New York for most of my life i have learned that most of the time u walk outside  and you touch something that you are not the first to touch. There are germs everywhere and the Goergia Flu seems to be spreading at a rate that even touching something that someone has touched or even breathing the same air causes people to catch this flu. The interesting part to me is how the story starts off with Jeevan facing something so insignificant compared to what he now is facing. I want to end this blog with this excerpt from chapter 6. “No more pharmaceuticals. No more certainty of surviving a scratch on one’s hand, a cut on a finger while chopping vegetables for dinner, a dog bite.”(Mandela). A scary place is a place of not knowing if you are safe.


Moving Towards Darkness

As soon as reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, we are introduced to Arthur Leander who is playing the role of King Lear. While Arthur is on stage, he begins to stumble wheeze and there is also a sudden change in his face. He goes on to cradle his hand to his chest “like a broken bird.” (Mandel, page 3.”) One of the actors was looking at Arthur closely whilst this was going on but assumed that he was acting. However, there was a man in the front row of the orchestra section who seemed to realize something was wrong.

We are introduced to this man as Jeevan, he was training to be a paramedic. To Arthur’s luck in that moment, Jeevan knew the play very well and realized that he was skipping over lines. He threw himself onto the stage and caught Arthur before he collapsed to the ground. By this time, everyone in the theater including the actors caught on to what was actually going on. Arthur was not acting, something was actually wrong with the man. Arthur’s heart was no longer beating.

At this point, Jeevan began CPR and the curtain drops now separating the stage and the audience. A cardiologist, Walter Jacobi, makes his way through the curtains to try and help Arthur as well. While Jeevan had multiple thoughts going through his mind including, “please start breathing again.” (Mandel, page 5.) Walter was waiting for his turn to help. Soon after the ambulance had arrived and the paramedics were now attending to Arthur. They shocked his body in hopes of restarting his heart but unfortunately he was pronounced dead at nine fourteen p.m.

While Jeevan was looking for a way to exit the scene he had heard a child whimpering. He goes to her, Kirsten, to comfort her and get her away from what was going on. As Jeevan finally makes his way out he thinks of what was going on and what an impact it had on him. Arthur dying right in front of Jeevan was a turning point in his life. Jeevan had been a “bartender, a paparazzo, an entertainment journalist, then a paparazzo again and then once again a bartender.” (Mandel, page 16.) After seeing Arthur die Jeevan was now certain that he wanted to become a paramedic.

We now go back to Kirsten, who is still crying. Tanya hands her an object that she thought “was the most beautiful, the most wonderful, the strangest thing anyone had ever given her. It was a lump of glass with a storm cloud trapped inside.” (Mandel, page 15.) I took this as foreshadowing for what is to come. As if we are already told that something is soon about to come at these people but they won’t have anywhere to go. They’ll be “trapped” before anyone even realizes what is happening. We get to the “storm” that Hua, Jeevan’s only close friend introduces him to. The Georgia Flu was an epidemic mimicking flu like symptoms. Hua quickly realized that this was not something to take lightly so he advises Jeevan to get his brother and his girlfriend and leave the city at once or stay in his apartment. Unfortunately, Jeevan cannot leave as soon as Hua would like him to so he stacks up on basic supplies like food and water.

Life shines brightest in moments of death

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a story that is developed around the life of a man named Jeevan, the beginning of the story, which can be said to have been the most crucial part of the story is set in the Elgin Theater in Toronto. The story is being told in a limited point of view using the protagonist, which in this story is Jeevan. There are several characters being introduced into the story over time, but the more important ones are, Jeevan Chaudhary who’s the main character, Laura who’s Jeevan’s girlfriend, Kirsten Raymonde who’s a little girl, and Walter Jacobi who is a cardiologist. While I was reading through the first couple pages, I couldn’t really figure out who the protagonist or main character was. The reason for my confusion in the beginning is because of the introduction of a man named Arthur Leander. He was in a play acting as King Lear, an it was only when he passed away that I’ve realized I was wrong in assuming he was the main character.

As the story progresses, the reader finds out that Jeevan knew Arthur a bit more than perhaps a member of the audience, thanks to a flashback experienced by Jeevan. “Jeevan was thinking of the time he’d interviewed Arthur in Los Angeles, years ago now”(Emily, 5). Later on in the story, while Jeevan was speaking to Kirsten, we learned that Arthur had died doing the thing that he loved the most. We know this because while he was being interviewed by Jeevan, he mentioned “ I’ve waited all my life to be old enough to play Lear, and there’s nothing I love more than being on stage, the immediacy of it…” (Emily, 8). In the beginning of the story when the reader learned about the death of Arthur, it was seen as this sad thing that happened. Now because of this last quote, the reader’s view on Arthur’s death may change upon realizing the man died doing what he loved doing.

Arthur’s death can be said to have turned out to be not as bad as it seemed. First of all, the man died happy, and second, as he’s life was ending, that moment encouraged Jeevan’s idea about becoming a paramedic. “he’d wondered all his life what his profession should be, and now he was certain, absolutely certain that he wanted to be a paramedic“(Emily,11). Because Jeevan was now convinced he wants to become a paramedic, he’s whole life is about to change, it is like he’s about to have a new life now, as if as Arthur’s life was ending, it brought out the final push needed in Jeevan’s life to become this new and fulfilling life he always wanted. ” he found himself blindsided by an unexpected joy ” (Emily, 11). There are these strange moments where death is no longer seen as an unfortunate thing, on the contrary, it is seen as this changing point in someone’s life. It becomes a moment where a person learns valuable lessons and it causes them to steer their own lives in a better direction.  Arthur’s death is one of such moments, it can be an horrifying experience or it can be the last push you needed before changing your life for the better.


The Prologue

I have been quietly dreading this moment all day because, to be honest, I have little to write about “Station Eleven” that is, in any way, original.                                               So what do we have here? Sudden death at the theater, which, when you come to think about is a classic and dramatic way to start any story “He [Arthur Leander] cradled his his hand to his chest like a broken bird” (page 3, par 3) . Emily St. John (author) has jumped straight in to the circus ring and the characters jump around her, to the crack of her pen.                                                                         The dramatic entree. O.K… Let me come down to earth!. A famous actor (Arthur Leander) gets a massive heart attack on stage while playing King Lear (there are worse ways to go!). An aspiring paramedic (Jeevan Chaudhary) (of note: “Chowdhury is a hereditary title of honor originating in the Indian subcontinent”..Wikipedia) .and a cardiologist leap to his aid and perform CPR upon him, but to no avail ( frustrated and ignoble impotence in the face of death). Arthur Leander gets wheeled away on a gurney and Jeevan  “…it occurred to him that his role in this performance was done.”(page 6, par 3), remembers his girlfriend Laura, whom he had abandoned in the audience, in his fit of “misplaced” chivalry. (he knows that he has blown it with her…again!). As if to console himself, he finds a shocked and frightened, eight year-old girl (Kirsten Raymonde……remember the name!) on stage, and tries to comfort her (or himself).                                                                                                                                                     Anticlimax to the dramatic entree: Walking out of the Elgin theater, to the snow filled Yonge street in Toronto, Jeevan avoids the paparazzo  “Until very recently Jeevan had been a paparazzo himself” (page 9, last para) and realizes that he has found his vocation in life (one man’s tragedy is another’s moment of self discovery) declares to one of his former fellow paparazzo “I want to do something [in life] that matters” (page 10, para 4). Jeevan “felt extravagantly, guiltly alive” (page 11, para 2) Jeevan needs to think and goes for a walkabout in the snow. So, eight pages into the story, we have a protagonist (Jeevan), a conflict (wanting to do the right thing with himself) and his (antagonist?) girlfriend who, by now has sent him a text message “I had a headache so I went home. Can you pick up milk”( Page 11, par 4) (translation: you messed up but I want you to come home…now!)  Not bad! The narrator has painted a vivid backdrop in the first chapter.                                                                                                                                                                               Chapter 2:  The stage manager, a couple of actors and the makeup artist Goneril  (also King Lear’s oldest daughter and a principal villain in Shakespeare’s “King Lear”) huddle together the theater’s bar. the chapter appears to be  relatively insignificant ( will I be proven wrong?) but it has a very significant ending..”Of all of them at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest.He died three weeks later on the road out of the city”. (page 11, last para). I get a chill down my spine!                                                                                   Chapter 3: The plot thickens! The narrator slowly ratchets up the tension. Jeevan’s doctor friend (Hua), who works at  a local hospital calls him to warn him of a quickly developing  pandemic and “”Listen” Hua said,” you have to get out of the city”” (page 19, bottom). Jeevan realizes that this is the moment of truth “Jeevan was crushed by a sudden certainty that this was it, that this illness that Hua was describing was going to be the divide between a before and an after, a line drawn through his life” (page 20, bottom). Jeevan, unwilling to abandon his brother (he advised his girlfriend to leave town) decides to stock up on essentials and wait it out at his brothers apartment.                                                                                                In chapter five , we are introduced to  Arthur Leander’s first wife (of three….who’s perfect?, right!) She is a shipping executive, temporarily marooned in Malaysia when she is informed of her ex husband’s death “So this is how it ends, she thought, when the call was over, and she was soothed by the banality of it” (page 30 , para 2). Chapter five also has a dramatic ending “This was during the final months of the era when it was possible to press a series of buttons on a telephone and speak with someone on the far side of the earth” (page 30, last para).                                                                                                                                                                          Chapter six: a clever end to part one. The narrator spares us the agony of a blow-by-blow account of the developing pandemic. She gets straight to the point in chapter six. Life and civilization as the characters have known it is now over. There is no more technology. “No more cities…no more screens…no more pharmaceuticals, no more certainty of surviving a scratch on one’s hand…No more countries, all borders unmanned..No more fire departments, no more police” (page 31) No more internet. No more social media” (page 32). Kudos to the narrator! I admire how well she has developed the story and then in section two moves twenty years forward in time. The curtain now falls on the prologue.