Very Cold People (Hardback)
  • Very Cold People (Hardback)
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Very Cold People (Hardback)

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£14.99
Hardback 208 Pages
Published: 28/04/2022
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Longlisted for the Wingate Prize
Financial Times Best Debuts
Guardian's Best Fiction of the Year

Once home to the country's most illustrious families, Waitsfield, Massachusetts, is now an unforgiving place awash with secrets. Forged in this frigid landscape, Ruthie 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.

In Very Cold People Sarah Manguso reveals the suffocating constraints of growing up in a very old, and very cold, small town. Here lies a vital confrontation with an all-American whiteness where the ice of emotional restraint meets the embers of smouldering rage . . .

‘I can’t think of a writer who is at once so formally daring and so rigorously uncompromising as Sarah Manguso' - Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781529055283
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 316 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Fans of Gwendoline Riley and Catherine Lacey's unconventional stories about family and community dysfunction are also likely to appreciate Manguso's pitiless, minutely observed. - Observer

Manguso puts her own indelible stamp on the literary terrain of John Cheever and Susan Minot, daring to brush against the third rail of class. - Oprah Daily

Magnificent . . . I hope all my fellow reader friends can find their way to this title either through their local library or independent bookseller. It is indeed special. - Sarah Jessica Parker via Instagram

Sarah Manguso is one of the most original and exciting writers working in English today. Every word feels necessary, and she’s redefining genre as she goes - Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Interpreter of Maladies

With its adult narrator trying to recover the intuitions of her younger self, Very Cold People reminded me of My Brilliant Friend, the first novel in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet. - Katy Waldon, New Yorker

Manguso is consistent in her approach and the cumulative effect is satisfying - Damon Galgut, TLS

Very Cold People knocked me to my knees. So precise, so austere, so elegant, this story is devastatingly familiar to those of us who know the loneliness of growing up in a place of extreme emotional restraint. Manguso is one of my favourite writers, and this book is a revelation - Lauren Groff, author of Florida

Midwesterners, New Englanders and anyone from small town America will recognize the contours in this quietly beautiful novel about what it feels like to grow up an outsider. It's a starkly lyrical exploration of the darkness that lies underneath a lily white community with an emotional resonance that sneaks up on you and won't let go. - Good Housekeeping

I loved every sentence, thought, and gesture in this perfect novel. Sarah Manguso has painted a deeply moving portrait of the stark unreality of childhood - Catherine Lacey, author of Pew

Manguso has written a delicately controlled, subtle novel which never shouts its horror. The tone is understated, the writing etched and therefore powerful. Gradually, memorably, she reveals the vipers in the social and familial undergrowth. And what’s more, Ruth triumphs. - Irish Times

I loved it and am still trying to accommodate its cold quality - like swallowing an ice-cube by accident. Manguso’ steady gaze and clarity of expression is reminiscent of Louise Gluck. I hope it will do as brilliantly as it deserves. - Laura Beatty, author of Pollard

The book is strong enough as a compendium of the insults of a deprived childhood: a thousand cuts exquisitely observed and survived. The effect is cumulative, and this novel bordering on a novella punches above its weight. - Alexandra Jacobs, New York Times

A haunted masterpiece, written with the precision of a miniaturist and the vulnerability of true heartache. - Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less

Very Cold People is an important stitch in a tapestry being urgently reworked by women writers. Manguso's is a bold stitch, a beautiful and a vital one. - Joanna Walsh, author of Break.up

A poignant and unnerving masterwork about growing up in a dominator society, told with the concision, carefulness, and sense of mystery that we’ve come to expect from Sarah Manguso - Tao Lin, author of Leave Society

Manguso portrays the fears surrounding girlhood with a blistering clarity. - Michele Filgate, Washington Post

Set in the 1980s in a small, frigid New England town, this coming-of-age story offers a stark take on what it is to feel poor, poorly nurtured, and inadequately loved in a class-conscious, lily-white town - NPR

Very Cold People wields a kind of detached, anthropological power, portraying the world through the accumulation of telling details. - Wall Street Journal

Unafraid to engage with tricky topics like race and class in America, Very Cold People may not warm your heart, necessarily. But it will pick you up after it knocks you down, and leave you stronger for it. - Chicago Review of Books

Manguso is a lovely writer about unlovely things . . . here she depicts her protagonist’s quiet agony with a poet’s eye . . . A taut, blisteringly smart novel, both measured and rageful. - Kirkus, (starred review)

Manguso is an exquisitely astute writer, and there is something admirable about her refusal to bow to predictable plot tropes that might rescue Ruthie more definitively — or condemn her. - Boston Globe

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“Mundane in the story telling, brilliantly depicting the reality.”

Wonderfully crafted tale. The small snapshots of Ruthie’s life form into a powerfully representation of her coming of age. This is definitely a brilliant choice for a book club with its many undercurrents.

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 14

“Chillingly beautiful coming-of-age novel”

In 'Very Cold People', the narrator Ruthie looks back on her upbringing in the small town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, whose coldness mirrors the lack of affection and love she receives as a child. Ruthie... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 1

“Atmospheric, thought provoking literary novel.”

A short sharp shock of a novel, beautifully written and entirely thought provoking.

I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed it exactly, it had an effective darkness about it, but I was engrossed throughout the telling... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 1

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