NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE
- The masterly debut novel from "an exquisitely astute writer" (The Boston Globe), about growing up in--and out of--the suffocating constraints of small-town America.
"Compact and beautiful . . . This novel bordering on a novella punches above its weight."--The New York Times
"Very Cold People
reminded me of My Brilliant Friend
."--The New Yorker ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker, NPR, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Good Housekeeping "My parents didn't belong in Waitsfield, but they moved there anyway."
For Ruthie, the frozen town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, is all she has ever known.
Once home to the country's oldest and most illustrious families--the Cabots, the Lowells: the "first, best people"--by the tail end of the twentieth century, it is an unforgiving place awash with secrets.
Forged in this frigid landscape Ruthie has been dogged by feelings of inadequacy her whole life. Hers is no picturesque New England childhood but one of swap meets and factory seconds and powdered milk. Shame blankets her like the thick snow that regularly buries nearly everything in Waitsfield.
As she grows older, Ruthie slowly learns how the town's prim facade conceals a deeper, darker history, and how silence often masks a legacy of harm--from the violence that runs down the family line to the horrors endured by her high school friends, each suffering a fate worse than the last. For Ruthie, Waitsfield is a place to be survived, and a girl like her would be lucky to get out alive.
In her eagerly anticipated debut novel, Sarah Manguso has written, with characteristic precision, a masterwork on growing up in--and out of--the suffocating constraints of a very old, and very cold, small town. At once an ungilded portrait of girlhood at the crossroads of history and social class as well as a vital confrontation with an all-American whiteness where the ice of emotional restraint meets the embers of smoldering rage, Very Cold People
is a haunted jewel of a novel from one of our most virtuosic literary writers.
About the Author
Sarah Manguso is the author of eight books. Her previous book, 300 Arguments, a genre-defying work of aphoristic nonfiction, was named a best book of the year by more than twenty publications. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship, and the Rome Prize. Her work is regularly featured across The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, and The New Yorker, among others. She grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Los Angeles. Very Cold People is her first novel.