“Very Cold People” by Sarah Manguso
“Very Cold People” is a series of sneaky gut punches. Where to begin? Maybe it’s just as well to start where Sarah Manguso does with her lead sentence, “My parents didn’t belong in Waitsfield, but they moved there anyway.” Hmm. What could go wrong?
Our guide is Ruthie who is navigating adolescence without a whole lot of guidance. Manguso’s style in this debut novel is stunningly unique. Insight unfolds in short bursts. Sometimes in logical sequence, oftentimes not. A reader’s first thought is that this is all about class, the haves and the have nots. And there is certainly plenty of that. But that’s just the beginning. What’s wrong with all these people? What’s happened to them, especially the females? This doesn’t feel right, until it really feels wrong. This is coming of age that doesn’t necessarily seem headed for a happy-ever-after conclusion. At which time Manguso delivers a few final sneaky gut punches.
I was very excited to read “Very Good People”, having heard so much about Sarah Manguso. I was surprised, amazed, and had my expectations totally exceeded. It is a cold, cruel world out there. All we can do is keep everyone we care about safe and loved.
Thanks to Hogarth and NetGalley for the eARC.