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: 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.

Born in Sanming, China, Ling grew up in Utah, Nebraska, and Kansas. She holds an MFA from Cornell University, where she also taught. Currently, she serve as an assistant professor at her alma mater, University of Chicago.

读之前对内容一无所知,刚开篇就提到了N95口罩,一次性手套,瘟疫,我呼吸都加速了。作者以SARS为原型,虚构了一场源起深圳叫做Shen fever的全球性瘟疫。故事主人公生活在纽约,目睹着纽约因瘟疫流行而从繁华到废弃,想想现在的纽约简直是疫情震中,一种不寒而栗的感觉。小说中的两个故事,都让我对摩西出埃及有了进一步的认识,其一是“我”的父母于1988年抵达美国,因次年发生在国内的事件而决定留在美国;其二是“我”从一个被独裁的幸存者小团体中逃出。作者出生在福州,幼年随父母移民美国。作者的写作很棒,结构好,遣词造句好,场景构建好。我忍不住想,如果作者没有移民美国,她现在会是一个很好的作家吗?前两天,作者凭这本小说得了一个奖,有五万刀奖金,18年出版的小说似乎因为疫情再次获得关注。由衷恭喜她!
Eerie reading in 2020. Compelling narrative structure weaving pre- and post-apocalypse timelines, figuring out what happened at the End, plus an escape story. A nuanced critique of capitalism & consumerism from a second-gen persepctive (mom's yearning for work v millennial ennui), a parallel story of severance from the homeland and need to belong
打开本书的时候的那天恰好公司宣布WFH,一周之后读完觉得自己也成了一个fevered 在自己制定的routine里打圈圈,觉得厌烦但又无法逃脱
Swallowed me whole into this terrible, haunting loneliness/severance… 後面幾章過去與現在的呼應越來越明顯,past開始更productive地inform present。兩次出走,感覺結尾還是留下了一點希望。有些開始理解這本書的封面,一片祥和的粉色之下的內裏,就像是這本書要rip off的bandaid - severance似乎在書裡也從一種被動的影響變為主動的選擇
这本书的英文对我来说还是稍微难了一点。我读了很久之后才慢慢读出头绪来。对于英文的不熟练确实影响了我对文章的理解,但是同时很佩服亚裔把英文用的如此娴熟。确实是值得再读的一部作品。不过…就是有些地方太explicit了…caught me off guard
Pandemic apocalypse. 最生动的情节当属NY Ghost: documenting urban civilization in desertion.
是末日故事,移民故事,消费主义故事,现代爱情故事,但似乎终究是母女故事。母女的互动描写充满了刻意的回避,好像再真实一点就会太痛。用半辈子敌对的那个人,也是唯一的永恒同盟。Maybe real resilience is to ignore, to refuse to acknowledge. To endure is just to be.
看作者在废弃的纽约独占写字楼的生活对我而言仍然是一种想象文学。Microwaveable mac and cheese绝对是末日食物前三名(Hawkeye里看她们吃简直把我馋死)。我不应该睡前再看末日文学了…这下又睡不着了…
买的时候以为只是一个讲移民心得的丧丧的书,读了发现丧的不是一般的丧,简直是丧尸的丧… 女主的性格我不是很喜欢。逃离一个城市或许是曾经的我,但不是现在的我。现在的我想要离开一个城市只是因为我更向往新城市多元化的生活。我心里有家,也有世界。