Ling Ma meditates on urban anomie with wry humor and subversive imagination, brilliantly bending and blending genre to plumb the depths of her characters’ origins, displacement, and alienation.
Ling Ma is the author of two books of fiction: the novel Severance (2018) and the short story collection Bliss Montage (2022), both New York Times Notable Books. Severance, which won a Young Lions Fiction Award (2019) and the Kirkus Prize (2018), presciently imagines the impact of a global pandemic on society while also examining the inner life of Candace Chen, a twentysomething office drone who works at a specialty Bible publisher and is one of the last survivors in New York City of a zombifying virus known as “Shen Fever.” A post-apocalyptic thriller and a Bildungsroman, a novel of social critique and a powerful examination of immigrant identity in America, Severance both recalls the fiction of Margaret Atwood and Don DeLillo and stakes out new and original ground. Bliss Montage displays similar adeptness, featuring variegated tales of isolation, uncannily moving between speculative and realist modes in order to offer a sharp investigation of capitalism, gender, diasporic experience, and the problems of embodiment. It received the Story Prize, and "Office Hours" from the collection was anthologized in The O. Henry Prize Collection Stories. She lives in Chicago with her family.
It was very unexpected news on a very ordinary work day. I was taken aback.LING MA