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. 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. What would it be like if you were one of the few people left on earth after a world wide epidemic Hollywood wants to show you with images Ling Ma takes you inside the head of a very believable protagonist instead, and it makes for a lasting impact Ma portrays convincingly the time lag between the beginning of the end and the realization that the world as we know it is irrevocably broken and gone, and the complications of figuring out what to do, where to go and who to trust One of the best novels I ve read in the past ten years, and I read a lot. Winner Of The NYPL Young Lions Prize, Winner Of The Kirkus Prize, A PEN Hemingway Finalist, A New York Times Notable Book Of , An Indie Next SelectionA Best Book Of At Elle, M Arie Claire,Refinery, Bustle, Buzzfeed, BookPage, Bookish, Mental Floss,Chicago Review Of Books,HuffPost,Electric Literature,Editors , AV Club,Jezebel,Vulture 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