BookEnds BookGroup ~ Severance by Ling Ma

BookEnds BookGroup
Sunday, January 2 at 4 PM
by Ling Ma


Topic: Book Group Discussion of Severance by Ling Ma
Time: Jan 2, 2022 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 819 0699 8772
Passcode: 450479


“Candace Chen is a first-generation Chinese millennial immigrant who tries to make a life in New York City by succumbing to the role of the office drone who helps create cheap bibles. But when Shen Fever—a plague that causes its victims to perform a rote task until death—hits, only a few survive, including Candace. She soon finds herself in a cult-like band of other survivors heading to the Midwest while also trying to come to terms with her past and the unknowns of her future. With dark humor, sharp intelligence, and compassion, Ling Ma has written a well-constructed, biting satire of capitalism and a moving glimpse into the roles of memory, place, and identity in a life.”
— Kelsey Westenberg, The Dial Bookshop, Chicago, IL


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.

"A stunning, audacious book with a fresh take on both office politics and what the apocalypse might bring." Michael Schaub,

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

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY: NPR * The New Yorker ("Books We Loved") * Elle * Marie Claire * Amazon Editors * The Paris Review (Staff Favorites) * Refinery29 * Bustle * Buzzfeed * BookPage * Bookish * Mental Floss * Chicago Review of Books * HuffPost * Electric Literature * A.V. Club * Jezebel * Vulture * Literary Hub * Flavorwire

Winner of the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award * Winner of the Kirkus Prize for Fiction * Winner of the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award * Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel * A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 * An Indie Next Selection

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.

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.

Praise For…

Winner of the 2019 NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award
Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Fiction
Winner of the 2019 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award
Winner of the 2019 Friends of American Writers First Prize in Literature
Finalist for the 2019 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel
Shortlisted for the 2019 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction
New York Times Notable Book of 2018
An NPR Best Book of 2018
An Elle Best Book of 2018

A Marie Claire Best Book of 2018
A Buzzfeed Best Book of 2018
A Refinery29 Best Book of 2018
A Jezebel Favorite Book of 2018
A Bustle Best Book of 2018

An Electric Lit Best Novel of 2018
A Lit Hub Best Book of 2018
A BookPage Best Book of 2018

A Bookish Best Book of 2018
A Mental Floss Best Book of 2018
A Chicago Review of BooksBest Book of 2018
A HuffPost Best Fiction Book of 2018
An Electric Literature Best Book of 2018
An A.V. Club Favorite Book of 2018
A Jezebel Favorite Book of 2018
A Vulture Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of 2018
Longlisted for the Aspen Words Prize
A Book of the Month Club Selection for December 2018
Shortlisted for the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Award
New York Magazine Approval Matrix, "Highbrow Brilliant"

An Indie Next Great Reads Selection
A Southern Living Best New Book of Summer 2018
A Millions Most Anticipated Book of 2018

An Alma Favorite Book for Fall
A Nylon Best Book of Summer 2018
A Chicago Magazine Summer Reading Pick
A Library Journal Summer Fall Best Debut Novel
An April Magazine Most Anticipated Book of 2018
A BookBub Laugh-Out-Loud Book of 2018

A Library Journal Debut With Credentials
A Refinery29 Best New Book of August 2018
A Greenlight Bookstore Pick in Brooklyn Paper

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

~ BookGroup participants receive 20% off the book prior to the event ~

~  Meeting the first Sunday of the month at 4 pm via Zoom ~

 ~ All Welcome ~

Event date: 

Sunday, January 2, 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Event address: 

Severance: A Novel Cover Image
By Ling Ma
ISBN: 9781250214997
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - May 7th, 2019