The much-anticipated debut novel from the author of 300 Arguments: a shattering account of growing up and out of the suffocating constraints of small-town America.
For Ruthie, the frozen, snow-padded town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, is all she has ever known. But this is no picturesque New England. Once “home of the bean and the cod, where Lowells speak only to Cabots, and Cabots speak only to God,” by the tail-end of the twentieth century it is an unforgiving place, awash with secrets.
Very Cold People tells Ruthie’s story through her eyes: from the shame handed down through her immigrant forebears and indomitable mother, to the violences 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 produced – with her characteristic precision – a masterwork on how very cold places make for very cold people: an ungilded portrait of girlhood at the crossroads of history and social class, and a pitiless look at an all-American whiteness.