Becky Spratford's Reviews > Severance

Severance by Ling  Ma
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it was amazing

Three Words That Describe This Book: satire, shifting time frame, character centered

This is not your ordinary apocalyptic story. Yes, a pandemic has turned most of the world into a non-threatening form of zombies-- a concept that is original and cool both as an idea and to read. In fact, this choice of how people turn into mindless, repetitive versions of themselves is both thought provoking and humorous too. The way the world as we know it ends in Ma's hands is sardonic, yes, but also poetic and compelling to read.

The story is told completely from Candace's point of view and it is not old in order. Candace is remembering her childhood as an immigrant, her work supervising the printing of bibles for her employer, her life in the days leading up to the "end" and her days after.

I think I enjoyed Candace's life story more than the present, although the descriptions of the beginning of the end up until she leaves NYC were great too. So lifelike and realistic.

Candace's family history, especially her connections to China were also some of my favorite parts. Her place as an immigrant, but one without a family as civilization ended was well explored and thoughtful.

Although this is a self-reflective story more than an action one and it can be serious, there are also moments of surprising humor. It is a witty book. No, seriously, it is.

It is an amazingly constructed story too. The language and word choices are perfect. Each scene stands alone, some could even be a story on their own, but it also seamlessly works together to make a single narrative.

It is ultimately a hopeful story too. I know that sounds weird because it is an apocalypse story, but it is hopeful. Read it, you will see.

Readalikes: This novel is very similar to Station Eleven both in topic and in how the story is told. Click here for my review of Station Eleven with more readalikes:

The writing and topics would also appeal to fans of Atwood's apocalyptic stories and Colson Whitehead's Zone One [my review here:].

Finally, you will probably want to go to a bookstore and look at the Bible section after reading this book. Seriously, all of the details about the types of bibles that are printed was fascinating....and I'm Jewish. It is the bestselling book in the world every year.
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Reading Progress

August 28, 2018 – Started Reading
August 28, 2018 – Shelved
September 12, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 14, 2019 – Finished Reading

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