Severance (Ling Ma) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
How do you fit a zombie novel inside an immigrant story inside a coming-of-age tale? Ling Ma... accomplished this feat in her gripping and original turducken of a novel.… Fascinating.
Trine Tsoudero - Chicago Tribune

[A] standout debut. Satiric and playful―as well as scary.… Ling Ma is an assured and inventive storyteller [and her novel] reflects on the nature of human identity and how much the repetitive tasks we perform come to define who we are.… A sardonic wake-up call.
Maureen Corrigan - NPR, Fresh Air

Funny, frightening, and touching.... Ling Ma manages the impressive trick of delivering a bildungsroman, a survival tale, and satire of late capitalist millennial angst in one book, and Severance announces its author as a supremely talented writer to watch.

A satirical spin on the end times—kind of like The Office meets The Leftovers.
Estelle Tang - Elle

Ma's language does so much in this book, and its precision, its purposeful specificity, implicates an entire generation. But what is most remarkable is the gentleness with which Ma describes those working within the capital-S System. What does it mean if a person finds true comfort working as a "cog" in a system they disagree with? Is that comfort any less real?

[S]hrewd postapocalyptic…. There are some suspense elements, but the novel’s strength lies in Ma’s accomplished handling of the walking dead conceit to reflect on what constitutes the good life. This is a clever and dexterous debut.
Publishers Weekly

[A] smart, searing expose on the perils of consumerism, Google overload, and millennial malaise. Verdict: With womb dystopia a hot topic inspired by the renewed popularity of The Handmaid's Tale, an already established audience will be eager to discover this work. —Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC
Library Journal

(Starred review) Embracing the genre but somehow transcending it, Ma creates a truly engrossing and believable anti-utopian world. Ma's extraordinary debut marks a notable creative jump by playing on the apocalyptic fears many people share today.

(Starred review) Candace is great, a wonderful mix of vulnerability, wry humor, and steely strength.… Ma also offers lovely meditations on memory and the immigrant experience. Smart, funny, humane, and superbly well-written.
Kirkus Reviews

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