Synopsis: Severance is a 2018 satirical science fiction novel by Chinese-American author Ling Ma. It follows Candace Chen, an unfulfilled Bible product coordinator, before and after an incurable infection slowly obliterates global civilization.
It took about 150 pages for this one to really click. I think a part of me wasn’t really understanding what Ling Ma was trying to say but once we hit the climax I felt that the writing picked up and I figured out the pace. I really liked this novel. I think it says a lot about how much we’re willing to endure in the name of capitalism, especially since we don’t really know anything else. At one point when the pandemic had flooded New York our protagonist just kept going to work. I thought to myself “no one would do that if the world was falling apart” but then I quickly realized, we are doing exactly that. I don’t know what the answer is here but I don’t think Ling Ma created this to provide any. The fact that she wrote this in 2018, well before the 2020 pandemic hit, definitely tells me that Ling Ma is a careful observer of our society and I’m excited to read her next book. This was a weird, unsettling novel and a perfect one to provide some rich discussions about capitalism, nostalgia, and our current state of affairs.
[ID: The novel Severance by Ling Ma has a pink cover and rests on gravel.]