This book was a decent, quick read, however it was over way before I wanted it to be I was turning the last page thinking thee was there had to be Instead I was left wondering what I just read and what the point of it was Also, the authors writing style and punctuation was a bit hard to follow I m no English Major but the conversational formatting in this book would have gotten me a failing grade in 8th grade English class.
Maybe someone smarter than figured out the layered meanings that this book promised, because i m left feeling like I walked out in the middle of a movie.
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 An Indie Next SelectionNAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR The New Yorkerbooks We Loved ElleM Arie ClaireEditors The Paris Review Staff Favorites RefineryBustleBuzzfeedBookPageBookishMental FlossChicago Review Of booksHuffPostElectric LiteratureAV ClubJezebelVulture Literary Hub Flavorwire A Fierce Debut From A Writer With Seemingly Boundless Imagination A Stunning, Audacious Book With A Fresh Take On Both Office Politics And What The Apocalypse Might Bring Michael Schaub, NPRMaybe 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, SeveranceCandace 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 BoyfriendSo 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 GhostCandace 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 Than Survive As far as the dystopian future genre goes, this book did an excellent job of highlighting what becomes important versus irrelevant when everything falls apart Beautifully written and very relatable.
I feel pretty meh about this novel It s not that it s bad or uninteresting, it just maybe wasn t for me As the blurb says, it IS dark and a little satirical, but even not typically being a reader of this kind of novel, it felt like a pretty standard post apocalyptic dystopian novel Character wise, I didn t feel like I really got to know any of the characters very well, even Candace, the main character from whose perspective we read the story Everyone felt a little like a trope and so I couldn t really bring myself to care about any of them This novel reminds me of those teen horror movies from the late 90s in the darkness of the humor and the themes.
Style wise, I wasn t a fan of the lack of quotation marks to denote speech Maybe I m traditional but it would have been helpful in differentiating Candace s internal and external dialogues And perhaps, or not perhaps, it is likely that this style was implemented intentionally, maybe as some way of further confusing Candace s perception and reality, and emphasizing the dreamscape nature of this book given the manifestation that Shen Fever takes and the main character s tendency to fall into a trance like state in the face of routine Whatever the case, I wasn t a fan of that style.
As a lover of romance, I was interested in Candace and Jonathan s love story such as it was The love scenes if you can call them that are THE LEAST sexy scenes you will EVER read and that adds to the dark humor of the entire novel I mean he handled me as if separating egg whites from yolk, just tells you all you need to know about the strangeness and awkwardness.
Overall, I think this book was neither amazing nor was it terrible I didn t especially enjoy it, but I don t regret reading it either It felt like a story that had been told before and for someone who isn t into this genre, I m still unconvinced I think this would be a good addition for someone with a post dystopian fiction collection.
I bought Severance after looking at some of the reviews The buzz looked good and I am always interested in exploring new twists on the zombie genre I was thinking Ling Ma s book might be something along the lines of The Girl with All the Gifts.
I was wrong.
There is a good novella somewhere in the book Ma has a good touch for atmosphere and dialogue She is a perceptive writer The idea behind Shen Fever was really interesting as was the cult like survival group Candace found herself in.
But so much of Severance seems like filler The details of the main character s relationship with her family were interesting and might have made a very good coming of age immigrant story I kept thinking Severance was a mash up like Pride and Prejudice and Zombie, except this was a little like Joy Luck Club and Zombies.
Once I started reading about shopping for knock off handbags in Hong Kong around page 100, my mind started rebelling There is just so much unnecessary detail.
Such a shame.
6 Stars and rounded up.
This is not a zombie story with flesh eating undead Instead, this post apocalyptic novel turns out to be an exploration of attachment to the past, and the sense of emptiness when one is cut off from it There is plenty of commentary on society and its norms and values While there is understated satire, the humor is the sort that makes me me wince rather than chuckle in the same way that extremely awkward social situations in some sitcoms or Woody Allen movies might The book is also a beautifully written love letter to the New York City of 2011, as experienced by a young, professional, single woman Be ready for lots of flashbacks to scenes of life in the city, filled with the confusion, loneliness, awkwardness and some happiness experienced by the protagonist The prose can get a little artsy at times If you are looking for the pulse pounding pace common to the Zombie Apocalypse genre then the book will seem quite slow There is a plague that is busily wiping out humanity People who fall sick become mindless automatons but not really zombies and society has collapsed There are few survivors and our heroine falls in with a group heading west All is not well in the group dynamics The main tension in the plot comes from the somewhat creepy struggle between characters rather than a struggle for survival or action sequences.
Bottom line I liked the book but would hesitate to recommend it without caveats to someone who is a fan of ZA or PostApoc fiction This is not a harrowing tale of survival Be aware that the prose is a bit stylized and evokes a sort of hipster ish young in The City vibe, and that the main themes of the book have to do with commentary on society, loss, remembrance and attachment to the past If you are down with reading something that seems to be by deliberate intention artistically written, and you like deep and subtle character development, then I think you will enjoy
After seeing this book promoted, I was extremely excited to get my hands on it Unfortunately, I was left extremely underwhelmed While the basic premise of the book is intriguing and has so much potential, the execution was poor Absolute cop out of an ending.
read Severance for my book club and we all really loved this book as an excellent portrayal of New York City, as a critique of capitalism, and as a critical meditation on nostalgia all set within the context of an apocalypse storyline I quite liked all the descriptions of memories and the character development of the main character in the book.