'It turns away from despair': Michael Greyeyes on why he's championing Station Eleven on Canada Reads
On Day Three of Canada Reads, Michael Greyeyes shared his thoughts on the novel by Emily St. John Mandel
During Day Three of the Canada Reads 2023 debates, the panellists considered the ways in which themes of isolation and hope were portrayed in each of the remaining books. The debates were reflective as the panellists shared their personal connections to the stories they are defending.
Station Eleven is a dystopian novel that takes place on an Earth undone by disease, following the interconnected lives of several characters — actors, artists and those closest to them — before and after the plague. One travels the wasteland performing Shakespearean plays with a troupe, while another attempts to build community at an abandoned airport and another amasses followers for a dangerous cause.
During his 60-second opening statement, Greyeyes interrogates his love of dystopian fiction and questions why the genre resonates with him.
- Emily St. John Mandel and Michael Greyeyes discuss Station Eleven and their love for dystopian fiction
"Apocalyptic novels have always captivated me and I've had to ask myself, 'Why?' I mean, there's intellectual reasons. Indigenous people have already survived an apocalypse — colonialism. Dystopias are familiar territory. But on a more personal level, I think I'm afraid for our world, our communities," said Greyeyes.
The actor goes on to explain how Station Eleven remains hopeful despite impossible circumstances.
What this book does, at every single moment, is it turns away from despair and chooses grace.- Michael Greyeyes
"At the beginning of the novel, the play that's being performed is Lear, with its themes of betrayal, regret and death. And 20 years after the end of the world, they choose to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream that explores love and magic and transformation. Station Eleven chooses love over death, belonging over membership."
"What this book does, at every single moment, is it turns away from despair and chooses grace," said Greyeyes.
The Canada Reads 2023 champions and their chosen books are:
- Jeopardy! super-champ Mattea Roach champions Ducks by Kate Beaton
- Actor Keegan Connor Tracy champions Greenwood by Michael Christie
- Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher champions Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah
- TikTok creator Tasnim Geedi champions Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- Actor Michael Greyeyes champions Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Here's how you can tune into Canada Reads 2023:
ON RADIO: Canada Reads will air on CBC Radio at 10:05 a.m. in the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones.
It will air at 11:05 a.m. in the Maritimes, 1:05 p.m. in Labrador and at 1:35 p.m. in Newfoundland.
The debates will replay at 9 p.m. local time in all time zones, except in Newfoundland, where it will replay at 9:30 p.m.
ON TV: CBC TV will broadcast Canada Reads at 1 p.m. in the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones. It will air at 2 p.m. in the Atlantic time zone and at 2:30 p.m in the Newfoundland time zone.
PODCAST: Listen to the debates as a podcast on CBC Listen. The episode will be posted each day after the live airing.
WARNING: The books chosen for Canada Reads deal with difficult topics, such as trauma and abuse. These stories may be shared during the broadcast. Click this link to find publicly available resources for support.