The Many Layers of Ling Ma’s ‘Severance’

March 23, 2020 | 1 book mentioned

Ling Ma’s 2018 novel, Severance, is popping up on everyone’s pandemic TBR pile, due to parallels between the fictitious “Shen Fever” and the current-day coronavirus. For the Ringer, Jane Hu looks at why this novel resonates so deeply with our contemporary situation. “While I do not begrudge anyone the catharsis of readerly projection—especially during these bizarre times—that doesn’t mean that ‘Severance: it’s just like us’ hot takes are missing the point,” Hu writes. “For as the pandemic precipitates spikes in xenophobic sentiments, any over-identification with Ma’s novel based primarily on its ethnic coordinates […] should give us pause. That its author, a Chinese American immigrant, has refrained from all media requests is perhaps telling.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.