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Yes, in these pages, you will find a horrendous virus tearing its way through the globe in a manner not unlike what we are experiencing right now. Except in Ling Ma's Severance, the virus turns people into zombies-not so much dangerous as they are incredibly banal.

Candace Chen, a millennial 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, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend. She seems to barely notices when a plague sweeps New York. Families flee. Companies halt operations. The subways squeak to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost.

Enter a group of survivors/rescuers, led by the 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. Soon however she begins to wonder if she should 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.

LING MA received her MFA from Cornell University. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Vice, Playboy, Chicago Reader, Ninth Letter and elsewhere. A chapter of Severance received the 2015 Graywolf SLS Prize. She lives in Chicago.

 Additional Information:

  • Author: Ling Ma
  • Published 2019
  • 304 pages, softcover
  • 8 1/3 X 5 ½ inches
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