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No-one is watching Ruth. She, however, watches everyone and everything. In her taut, debut novel, Very Cold People, the poet and memoirist Sarah Manguso follows Ruthie with punctilious, documentary style realism.

An only child growing up in the fictional town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, the frozen, frigid landscape is all she has known. At home, where she sits, bundled up, with her back against the radiator, “the cold was just everywhere”...

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