Author: Ling Ma
Published: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Where I picked up my book: Library
Key Words: Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Dystopia
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
An offbeat office novel turns apocalyptic satire as a young woman transforms from orphan to worker bee to survivor.
Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend.
So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies halt operations. The subways squeak to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost.
Candace won’t be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. They’re traveling to a place called the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?
A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines, and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.
I LOVED this book! Well written, apocalyptic/post apocalyptic books are right up my alley and this one made the top of the list for me! The entire time I was reading Severance, I was in these characters shoes. Would I be one of the people to survive this fever and then what? (side note: I’d probably NOT be one of the ones to survive the fever in the first place, but I like to think about the scenario that way). As I devoured the book, I was mentally collecting supplies, thinking about what necessary items from my home I would grab and what friends would be of upmost importance to my survival. I was (mentally) wandering around my neighborhood thinking about where I would go and where I would go to get water and food. I was planning my route out of town to the nearest city where I might be able to find a thriving community. I found myself getting excited to survive this apocalypse (wait, is ‘excited’ the right word? Probably not, but you get what I’m saying). I was completely enthralled with surviving this fevered world as I read through Ma’s book.
Let this fantastic plot suck you in, but also be on the look out for Ma’s exploration of immigration and the immigration system in America, human behavior, the millennial way of living life, capitalism, religion, corporate life, the exploitation of foreign labor and assimilation because those topics are here, loud and definitely worth exploring through this great piece of fiction.
I hope you pick up Severance and enjoy it as much as I did! Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment here or over on Instagram (@bookishfolk).