Dear Great Book Guru, Spring has arrived and I am one happy reader! The light is great, the days are longer, and winter is over so now I am inspired to read, read, read. Do you have something good to suggest- preferably a novel. Springing Into Spring
Dear Springing Into Spring, In light of your enthusiastic response to Spring, you are going to think my suggestion very strange: VERY COLD PEOPLE by Sarah Manguso. This is a debut novel - some have called it a novella because it is only 192 pages with lots of white space. It is set in a small New England village where snow starts early and lasts through the Spring. But it is not the snow that gives us the title - it is the villagers, their secrets, their cruelties. The story is told from the perspective of Ruthie, a young girl whose family moves to this village where everyone seems to have arrived on the Mayflower. Wealth and family connections give a veneer of respectability and moral certitude to everyone from the local politicians to its store owners. Ruthie sees herself as the ultimate outsider but she valiantly attempts to fit in only to be rebuffed. Her parents are enmeshed in their own troubles and can offer her little comfort. Only looking back as an adult can she see the complicated forces that ruled her childhood. While this might be seen as a coming-of-age tale, it is much more sinister than it appears at first. By the book’s conclusion, the reader is left appalled at a world that can contain so much evil.