Severance - Ling Ma
If Ling Ma’s debut novel seems at all familiar, she’s carefully calibrated that feeling: it’s an apocalypse novel that could be happening right now. (It’s not for nothing that it’s actually set in the recent past.) The “fevered” zombies’ routines are commonplace: setting dinner tables, folding shirts, wandering name-brand stores, but with the added benefit of quicker-than-average bodily decay. It’s funny except when it’s horrifying; it’s horrifying except when it’s oddly comforting. That ambivalent tonal mixture is just one piece of what makes Ma’s writing so unique and captivating. Severance rushes forward on information overflow—on the ins and outs of collector’s edition Bible production, on the lives of Chinese immigrants in late-80s Utah, and on the name brands we all know and love-hate—because if that rush stopped, would we all fall into zombified oblivion too?