Severance by LIng Ma


Severance by Ling Ma

" Ling Ma's wonderful debut novel is multiple things -- a dystopian story, an office satire, and an immigrant coming of age -- and it's a great example of all these. Candace Chen, a self described "creature of habit," clings to her job and her routine for as long as she can, even after a horrifying plague wipes out most of society. But when she finally leaves New York with a band of fellow survivors, she's forced both to contemplate her future, and reckon with her past. This is a lovely meditation on how everyday moments and memories figure into an identity. Complex, engaging, terrific. "  - Recommended by Erika
Severance: A Novel By Ling Ma Cover Image
By Ling Ma
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ISBN: 9780374261597
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 14th, 2018

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 cease operations. The subways screech 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?