Like Story of your Life, Station Eleven starts with a moment that becomes a point of reference for the rest of the story. In this case, the point of reference is the death of Arthur Leander and the subsequent outbreak of the virus that kills off most of the human population. From then on the story switches perspectives from the people in Arthur’s life before the outbreak, to the survivors of the virus, years later. Arthurs’s overall role in the story is very small, and the reader does never actually gets Arthur’s perspective until the penultimate chapter. However, all of the viewpoint characters, before, during, and after the apocalypse, have some sort of relationship with Arthur. For example, Miranda is his ex-wife, Jeevan is a paparazzo who spies on them, Clark is his former best friend, and Kirsten was on stage the night that he died.
The work as a whole is in the perspective of an omniscient third-person narrator. The focus shifts from one character to the other for the entire novel, and the narration often knows things that the characters themselves do not. For example when Arthur dies the narrator gives the date of death of the people in the room, something that none of the characters could have known about at the time
Because the perspective is omniscient instead of limited, the reader does not align themselves with one specific character, and instead sees the events as a whole as they play out. Unlike Story of your life, there is no character who sees all of time as whole, instead the reader sees glimpses from the lives of different characters, all who have at least vague connections. While some of the characters end up interacting, some, like Miranda and Kirsten, never meet, but are vaguely connected through Arthur’s life and the Dr. Eleven comics.