Friday, March 22, 2019

Five fictional books inside of real books

K Chess was a W.K. Rose Fellow and her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Award and the Pushcart Prize. She earned an MFA from Southern Illinois University and currently teaches at GrubStreet. Her new novel is Famous Men Who Never Lived.

At Chess tagged five favorite fictional books inside of real books, including:
Dr. Eleven (from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel)

Twenty years after a flu pandemic ravaged the United States, survivor Kirsten carries around two tattered issues of a comic book called Dr. Eleven that were given to her as a child. Decades earlier, we follow their creator, administrative assistant Miranda, as she sketches the first panels, after hours at her quiet desk at a logistics company. The titular character lives on a flooded space station where it is always twilight, or nighttime; his enemies attack from fallout shelters underwater. “You don’t have to understand it,” Miranda tells her unappreciative boyfriend. “It’s mine.” Mandel’s book contains only words; she can’t show us Station Eleven. But her descriptions of the comic’s moody simplicity leave me feeling like I can see Miranda’s inner world, giving me a fuller sense of why Kirsten prizes the issues.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Station Eleven is among Rebecca Kauffman's ten top musical novels, Nathan Englander’s ten favorite books, M.L. Rio’s five top novels inspired by Shakespeare, Anne Corlett's five top books with different takes on the apocalypse, Christopher Priest’s five top sci-fi books that make use of music, and Anne Charnock's five favorite books with fictitious works of art.

--Marshal Zeringue