This collection was so good I wanna kiss Ling Ma on the mouth. A wildly funny and deeply sad string of stories about love and delusion, what we do to maintain our sanity, how we navigate identity horizontally and vertically (e.g. generationally vs. by sameness). As someone who tends to feel very comforted by fantasy, this felt like both a celebration and a warning from someone wiser and further along than me. Dark and delightful. Recommended By SitaraG, Powells.com
I almost never finish short story collections but I absolutely could not put this one down. Weird, wry, wonderful, searching, and observant — Ma is a delight to read. Recommended By Sarah R., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Haunting and artful."
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Eight dreamy stories, each with a foot in the fantastic and the other foot firmly in the appalling everyday."
Emily Temple, Lit Hub, Most Anticipated Books of 2022
"[A] rich and capacious collection, a montage which begs to be viewed over and over again."
William Shaw, Strange Horizons
"[A] fantastical and often brilliant collection....Enchanting, full of intelligence, dry humor, and an appealing self-awareness." Publishers Weekly
"[Ma] does not disappoint."
Liberty Hardy, Book Riot, Best New Short Story Collections
"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
About the Author
Ling Ma is a writer hailing from Fujian, Utah, and Kansas. She is author of the novel Severance, which received the Kirkus Prize, the Whiting Award, and the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award. She lives in Chicago with her family.