Bliss Montage: Stories (Hardcover)
A new creation by the author of Severance, Bliss Montage crashes through our carefully built mirages.
What happens when fantasy tears 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. A woman lives in a house with all her ex-boyfriends. A toxic friendship grows up around a drug that makes you invisible. An ancient ritual might heal you of anything—if you bury yourself alive.
These and other scenarios investigate the ways that the outlandish and the ordinary are shockingly, deceptively, heartbreakingly alike.
A Most Anticipated Book of the Year at The Millions and Lit Hub
A Must Read at Fortune, Good Housekeeping, Publishers Weekly, Book Riot, and Tor.com
“A lyrical, potent [book] that blends fantasy and reality to dazzling effect . . . Ma seamlessly blends the real and the unreal with astonishing confidence and care . . . Another triumph for Ma.”
—Matthew Jackson, BookPage (starred review)
“A collection of short stories that subvert our deepest illusions about one’s self . . . Unpredictable and sharp, Ma’s writing is unlike any other.”
—Sabienne Bowman, Pop Sugar
“Dreamy stories, each with a foot in the fantastic and the other foot firmly in the appalling everyday.”
—Emily Temple, Lit Hub
“[A] rich and capacious collection, a montage which begs to be viewed over and over again.”
—William Shaw, Strange Horizons
“This delightfully strange dip back into Ma’s brain is as wonderful as you expect. It touches on what amounts to the greatest hits of human existence: friendship, love, the meaning of home and why we need each other. Read it. Just read it.”
—Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping
“Strange, wonderful, and uniquely poignant. Ma’s stark and pointed prose shines here, and each story deserves multiple readings, sure to supply newly discovered emotions each time.”
—Christina Orlando, Tor.com
“[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)
“Surreal and jarring in the most sensational way . . . A fantastical collection that grows more and more captivating with each page.”
“[A] fantastical and often brilliant collection . . . Enchanting, full of intelligence, dry humor, and an appealing self-awareness.”
“[Ma] does not disappoint.”
—Liberty Hardy, Book Riot
“Ling Ma is a master at subverting expectations. 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
“In this riveting collection of stories, by which one is alternately startled, horrified, and delighted, Ling Ma stands out once again as one of the most original writers of her generation.”
—Sianne Ngai, author of Ugly Feelings