Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Eight titles where things don't go that well

Simon Han was born in Tianjin, China, and raised in various cities in Texas. His stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The Texas Observer, Guernica, The Iowa Review, Electric Literature, and LitHub. The recipient of several fiction awards and arts fellowships, he lives in Carrollton, Texas.

Han's new novel is Nights When Nothing Happened.

At Lit Hub he tagged eight books where things don't go that well, that "give space for more fraught experiences of the season." One title on the list:
Ling Ma, Severance

A millennial novel, a New York City novel, an immigrant novel, a zombie novel, a pandemic novel… and a holiday novel? I would make the case that this is another hat that Severance gets to wear, even if the characters rarely mention the season. When a band of “Shen Fever” survivors, led by a murderous I.T. guy named Bob, hole up over the holidays in the suburban shopping mall of his childhood, they gather around pancakes, fried Spam, and Anthropologie place mats, pray to some version of a god, and celebrate the one-month anniversary of their self-imposed lockdown instead. Candace Chen, the novel’s protagonist and a perpetual wanderer, may be especially immune to the nostalgia that appears to trigger the virus, because unlike the other zombies, she doesn’t carry around Saturday-Evening-Post-esque memories of holiday homecomings and family gatherings—her lack the key to her survival.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue