A new creation by the author of Severance, the stories in Bliss Montage crash through our carefully built mirages
What happens when fantasy tears through the screen of the everyday to wake us up? Could that waking be our end?
In Bliss Montage, Ling Ma brings us eight wildly different tales of people making their way through the madness and reality of our collective delusions: love and loneliness, connection and possession, friendship, motherhood, the idea of home. From a woman who lives in a house with all of her ex-boyfriends, to a toxic friendship built around a drug that makes you invisible, to an ancient ritual that might heal you of anything if you bury yourself alive, these and other scenarios reveal that the outlandish and the everyday are shockingly, deceptively, heartbreakingly similar.
“[Bliss Montage] uses elements of the fantastic but grounds them in a reality that is more recognizably our own . . . The ideas of home and belonging recur throughout the collection . . . Ma also writes about motherhood and academic life and abusive relationships. These are rich themes, and [she] explores them with the logic of dreams . . . Haunting and artful.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] fantastical and often brilliant collection . . . Enchanting, full of intelligence, dry humor, and an appealing self-awareness.”
“Ling Ma is a master at subverting expectations. The stories in this collection progress in a pleasantly disorienting way, drifting through dreamlike scenarios that are at turns nightmarish, queasy, funny, or some combination of all three. Bliss Montage presents a strange and compelling intersection between stark realism and absurd fantasy. It all adds up to a uniquely satisfying reading experience.”
—Nick Drnaso, author of Sabrina
“We know that the false and the true—like bliss and misery—are interlaced in the lifeworlds of globalized capitalism, but no one explores the affective contours and sensuous texture of that intermingling in the way Ling Ma does. In this riveting collection of stories, in which one is alternately startled, horrified, and delighted, Ma stands out once again as one of the most original writers of her generation.”
—Sianne Ngai, author of Ugly Feelings