Weird & Wonderful is our monthly celebration of the weird--be it science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, magical realism, or any genre otherwise strange.
This month the club will be discussing Severance by Ling Ma.
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, ... 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.
"Severance is the most gorgeously written novel I've read all year; when I finished it, I immediately picked it up and read it all over again." --Jane Hu, The New Republic
"Severance is the best work of fiction I've read yet about the millennial condition--the alienation and cruelty that comes with being a functional person under advanced global capitalism, and the compromised pleasures and irreducibly personal meaning to be found in claiming some stability in a terrible world. I love how, in this novel, doom is inevitable, and yet it comes so slowly you might not even notice it. Ling Ma has written one of my favorite novels of the year." --Jia Tolentino, New Yorker staff writer
"A satirical spin on the end times--kind of like The Office meets The Leftovers." --Estelle Tang, Elle
Ling Ma was born in Sanming, China, and grew up in Utah, Nebraska, and Kansas. She attended the University of Chicago and received an MFA from Cornell University. Prior to graduate school she worked as a journalist and an editor. Her writing has appeared in Granta, VICE, Playboy, Chicago Reader, Ninth Letter, and other publications. A chapter of Severance received the 2015 Graywolf SLS Prize. She lives in Chicago.