Emily St. John Mandel is Inspired by These Six Books 

Author Emily St. John Mandel has established herself as one of the best emerging authors with two brilliant novels over the past decade. That is why we are excited to take a look at six novels that inspire Emily St. John Mandel and what she thought of these novels! 

Station Eleven was published in 2014 and it rose to prominent fame over the course of the year. It would end up being nominated as a finalist for the National Book Award. Mandel followed that up with great novels over the years such as The Singer’s GunThe Lola Quartet and The Glass Hotel. The later was selected by Barack Obama as one of his favorite reads of 2020. 

In 2022, Mandel once again captured the attention of the literary world with another amazing book; Sea of Tranquility. That novel ended up winning the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Science Fiction Book. You can see the six books that inspired Mandel below.   

Emily St. John Mandel
Six books that inspire Emily St. John Mandel

Six Books that Inspire Emily St. John Mandel  

A Unique List

I love that the list goes from books that most people have heard of to less common names. The good news is that we know exactly why Mandel chose these books. You can read her comments about her picks below! 

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson  

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island book review!

“Stevenson’s 1883 page-turner was the first full-length book I ever read. I was slow to pick up reading — I struggled until I was 7 — and I still remember the joy I felt when the pieces suddenly clicked into place. All these years later, I retain strangely vivid images of scenes in Stevenson’s book.” 

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje 

“I requested this novel for Christmas when I was 14 or 15. Ondaatje’s text was revelatory: I think it was the first time I understood how beautiful prose could be.”  

The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer 

“I get some strange looks when I cite this book as an influence. It’s almost as if some people confuse the question ‘Which books influenced you?’ with ‘Which writers do you uncritically adore, and do you also approve of them stabbing their spouses?’ I don’t like most of the Mailer books that I’ve read. But his book about serial killer Gary Gilmore is a masterpiece, and it changed the way I write.” 

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon 

“I believe Await Your Reply, which sends three characters on parallel journeys of reinvention, would be a captivating novel no matter what structure Chaon chose to use. Yet the tension is greatly heightened by his use of multiple points of view and a wildly nonlinear structure.”  

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan  

“The structure in Egan’s most recent novel is so fractured that, legend has it, the book was marketed in some territories as a short-story collection. It was a direct influence on Station Eleven.”  

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction by J.D. Salinger  

“I like The Catcher in the Rye well enough, but to my mind, Salinger’s masterworks were the stories he wrote about the Glass family. Their humanity grabs hold of me. Salinger took such care with his characters and wrote with such warmth. When I’m working on developing characters, I try to live up to his example.”  


That is all for Emily St. John Mandel’s six books that inspire her. It is always a pleasant surprise to hear about what authors have to say about what they read. As someone who thinks often about how authors thought of and wrote their bestsellers, this is a wonderful gift.  

How many of these books have you read or plan to read? Let us know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading! 

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3 thoughts on “Emily St. John Mandel is Inspired by These Six Books 

  1. Don Kingfield says:

    Reading Quichotte now. Typical Rushdie ponderance but very good…

  2. elizabethbarnes says:

    Jennifer Egan is a really interesting writer, and she’s had two novels published since “Visit From the Goon Squad.” “Candy House,” her most recent, is a sequel of sorts to Goon Squad.My personal favourite, “Look at Me,” was earlier, but I can easily see it as a book that could influence Emily St. John Mandel. I’m a little bit surprised she lists Goon Squad here.

  3. Michael H Crisby says:

    I agree with Executioner’s Song. Some of Mailers books I really love, some I don’t. But he has written some brilliant stuff. Also agree strongly that the Glass stories are wonderful. My favtite(s) are Franny and Zooey, but I so wish Salinger had kept writing about them as they aged.


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