I feel like I am super late to the party on reading SEVERANCE by Ling Ma, but better late than never especially when the book is this good! It’s a fresh take on the post-apocalyptic storyline and would def be enjoyed by those who love the genre and those who don’t!
The story centers on Candace Chen – a millennial, recent college grad living in NYC – jumping between her life before and after Shen Fever had decimated the world’s population. When infected the fevered become mindless drones, endlessly repeating routine tasks from their daily lives (setting the table, folding clothes) until their bodies fully decay. Pre-Fever, we follow Chen’s life as she does what is expected for a young person: she works an OK 9-5 job, dates, and slowly becomes complacent in the status quo. This is juxtaposed with her Post-Fever life as she travels across the country with a pack of survivors.
SEVERANCE is a clever satire that uses the post-apocalyptic genre to comment on capitalism, millennial mindset, and office work all while being heartfelt and dryly funny. I especially loved Ma’s inclusion of Chen’s immigrant family story, it added an interesting depth to the character. As well, Ma’s vivid description of the slow collapse of NYC was chilling to read!
If you haven’t read SEVERANCE yet, it’s a must!!
** Picador provided the book for honest review
- Title: Severance
- Author: Ling Ma
- Published: May 7, 2019 (Picador)
- Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
- Booky Nooky Rating: * * * *