“Very Cold People” by Sarah Manguso

In her first novel, the American writer Sarah Mangouso decided to deliver an extremely icy, yet fiercely fiery piece, all at the same time under the title “Very cold people”. A novel of nearly 200 pages published by the label Alpha decayin which a little girl will become aware of the cruel world that surrounds her, a world that will turn its back on her, that will not pay attention to her wounds and will only seek to contaminate her with its coldness.

The writer places the story of Ruthie in the in the north of Massachusettsin the frozen little town of waiting fieldthe only place the protagonist has known in his life.

This territory that keeps a historical heritage, for being the land of the first settlers and the place where the most illustrious families of their country resided; but, by the end of the 20th century, it had become a seedy and decadent place, a Massachusetts marked by violence and class differences.

Forged in this frozen place, Ruthie has always lived accompanied by a strong sense of inadequacy; His childhood is far from the picturesque postcards of New Englanda time of second-hand toys, factory outlets and powdered milk.

cover of "very cold people" (Alpha Decay, 2023).
Cover of “Very Cold People” (Alpha Decay, 2023).

Sarah Mangouso tells how shame is inherited from its protagonist in “Very cold people” because of his immigrant background, which covers all aspects of his life, just as snow covers waiting field to the point of leaving it buried.

As he grows, Ruthie You will uncover the terrible stories lurking in your neighborhood and understand how difficult it is to escape the legacy that has left damage and abjection.

in the frost waiting field everything seems to be disrespectful. Although it is a small town, if your car gets stuck in the snow, the indifference could be such that you will never get help. The families of this town behave like little sectarian societies, carefree and permissive. In the village there are fathers who take baths with their teenage daughters and mothers who consent to this happening.

The protagonist’s mother is no exception, she is self-destructive and behaves like a big girl. For her daughter, the books she finds in the same landfill as her clothes are imaginary escapes. In waiting field no one is nice to others, this, coupled with his unstable mother’s precarious upbringing, does the only thing he understands Ruthie whether it is pain, even this feeling accompanies it in its development.

"very cold people" This is the first novel written by Sarah Manguso.
“Very Cold People” is the first novel written by Sarah Manguso.

the misfortune of Ruthie This splatters not only his existence, but also his family and even his classmates, whose fate seems to be heading inevitably towards disaster.

Mannguso mixes in the novel a psychological drama and a social portrait typical of the time. Thus, he presents a narrative in which he exposes the cruelty of American whiteness and a frightening vision of American society outside the big cities.

A “Very cold people” could be cataloged in the wave of texts which are added to the New sincerity, an American literary current in which small and painful confessions tend to peek into the abyss of otherness, starting from everyday details; it’s the first time Sniff he moves away from poetry and essays, of which he has published some unpublished titles in Spanish.

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