Join us for the second Friends of VCU Libraries Book Club meeting Sunday, November 3. The meeting is at 2 p.m. in the Cabell Room on the fourth floor of the James Branch Cabell Library Severance is the featured book. Written by Ling Ma, it is the 2019 winner of the Cabell First Novelist Award.

Severance is the story of Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower. 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 boyfriend.

So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York and 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 Ghost.

Candace 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 more than survive.

The discussion will be lead by Richard Wenzel, M.D., author, physician and microbe stalker. Wenzel teaches in Internal Medicine at the VCU School of Medicine and is the Editor at Large of the New England Journal of Medicine, He is emeritus Chairman and Professor of the Department of Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Medical Center in Richmond, VA, and former President of the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) Physicians. Wenzel is the author of the non-fiction book Stalking Microbes,  and the medical thrillers Labyrinth of Terror and Dreams of Troy.

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Categories Events, Faculty/Staff, Friends of VCU Libraries, Uncategorized