WHAT WE'RE READING: Severance by Ling Ma

Why we chose it: 

Published in 2018, this satirical science-fiction novel takes place during a fictional pandemic. Given the current pandemic, choosing this book felt more relevant than ever. The main character, Candance Chen is a relatable millennial office-drone and seeing how she navigates the circumstances of both pre-pandemic and post-pandemic life are a unique glimpse into human behavior.

The book touches on consumption, capitalism and coming-of-age themes. It is a poignant and timely take on our world and an excellent quarantine read. Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story and a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale.  Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.

Well-written and layered. Highly recommend.

About the author:

Ling Ma is author of the novel Severance, which received the Kirkus Prize. Her work has appeared in Granta, Playboy, Vice, ACM, the Chicago Reader, Ninth Letter, and others.

She was born in Sanming, China and grew up in Utah, Nebraska, and Kansas. She holds an MFA from Cornell University and an AB from the University of Chicago.