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Severance: A Novel

Severance: A Novel

Written by Ling Ma

Narrated by Nancy Wu


Severance: A Novel

Written by Ling Ma

Narrated by Nancy Wu

ratings:
4/5 (263 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 14, 2018
ISBN:
9781427298614
Format:
Audiobook

Editor's Note

Smart page-turner…

Imagine a crossover episode between “The Office” and “The Walking Dead,” and you’ve got Ling Ma’s terrific debut novel. It somehow manages to satirize everything from careerism to apocalyptic thrillers without sacrificing empathy or believability. A super smart page-turner.

Description

Maybe it's the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Ma's offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance.

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?

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Aug 14, 2018
ISBN:
9781427298614
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Ling Ma received her MFA from Cornell University. Prior to graduate school she worked as a journalist and editor. 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.


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Reviews

What people think about Severance

3.9
263 ratings / 15 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Critic reviews

  • Imagine a crossover episode between "The Office" and "The Walking Dead," and you've got Ling Ma's terrific debut novel. It somehow manages to satirize everything from careerism to apocalyptic thrillers without sacrificing empathy or believability. A super smart page-turner and bittersweet survival story.

    Scribd Editors
  • Imagine a crossover episode between "The Office" and "The Walking Dead," and you've got Ling Ma's terrific debut novel. It somehow manages to satirize everything from careerism to apocalyptic thrillers without sacrificing empathy or believability. A super smart page-turner.

    Scribd Editors

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    loved the audio voice. the book itself felt lacking but a fast read.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed the slow burn reflection on memory but the apoclyptic aspects of this book was more background then central to the story.
  • (5/5)
    What a great story! I really enjoyed this unique story. I’ve never read anything like this. Loved it!
  • (1/5)
    It was a pointless read, nothing to be enjoyed, no one to like or hate.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed the narrator of this book. I thought she handled the various voices very adeptly. The novel was interesting. I did wonder why she kept going back to her previous life , but found I was very intrigued by it and felt it added dimension and emotion to the novel. I also felt that it was a natural reaction to what was happening around the protagonist. It was scarily believable.
  • (5/5)
    Can’t think of a book that summed up how I feel about doing zoom classes or anything else in late stage capitalism.
  • (5/5)
    It was really eerie listening to this in the first part of 2021, but it was well told and I enjoyed the narration. It had Station 11 vibes which I also liked (and read in 2020)
  • (4/5)
    Good story. Hate books that end on a cliff hanger. This is literature not television
  • (3/5)
    The last couple chapters are missing from this audiobook! Arghhhh!!!
  • (2/5)
    It’s just not that dramatic enough. I wanted more plague but I got a heaping dose of melancholy. (Which is even funnier since I’m reading this while COVID is going on ?)
  • (3/5)
    Less of a post-apocalyptic read but more of a commentary on life under capitalism, the monotony of life as a twenty-something riding the tide, as well as the woes and pros of immigrating to America.
  • (4/5)
    Very good! As a Millennial living in NYC and working in the gig economy, the storyline is oddly familiar and incredibly relevant to living in the US epicenter of COVID-19. As a fourth generation Asian-American, I don’t have much context of what assimilation is like in the States as an immigrant, but Ling Ma paints a strong picture of what life is like for a young women’s parents to move to Salt Lake City from Fujian in the late 80s and how that shapes her. The underlying zombie apocalyptic subplot falls a little flat for the sci-fi genre, but if you’re looking for a satire on the modern day workplace and how doomsday-like a pandemic can alter a city and it’s inhabitants, this is the perfect read for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!
  • (3/5)
    The book was a bit too psychological for my preference.
  • (5/5)
    Great novel - well written, thought provoking and an easy read.
  • (5/5)
    it would appear that even the apocalypse is not without power dynamics. Candace Chen, orphan moves to New York to find her future after her mother dies. She harbours hopes of being a photographer but knows she doesn't quite have the talent for it. She settles into a job as a production assistant and is assigned to produce bibles. Her job takes her back to China to an exploration of her migrant parents, then comes the Fever. Candace stays loyally at her post while the city crumbles around her. You can only live on vending machine snacks for so long so Candace ends up with a rag tag band of survivors led by the increasingly power hungry Bob. Will Candace be able to free herself. The answer lies in her coming to terms with herself, her mother and her relationships. The result is funny, sad, tragic, and hopeful all at the same time. Loved the narration in the dead pan tone. Would listen to it all ovet again just to rediscover the details.