Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"The long-awaited, daring, and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad. Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career with the Ziegfeld Follies, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have vanished. Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan's first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a spectacular novel by one of the greatest writers of our time"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476716732
Characteristics: 438 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Mar 02, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. Couldn't put it down. Jennifer Egan had a way of weaving the characters of this novel in and out of the story that left you wanting to know what would happen to them next. I had to restrain myself from peeking ahead to see what was going to happen and am so glad I resisted that urge. I will be reading her other books for sure!

Feb 19, 2018

Did anyone read this to the end? I wonder. After a while it resembled a radio program you're only half listening to but of which still can follow the story line. I resorted to reading only dialogue and found it helped move the story along. Did the writer get paid by the page or did the Pulitzer Prize make her editors timid? I think Egan needs a firm editor! This 390 page book could be reduced easily to 200 pages without harming the plot. What a waste of superb talent, and,.. my time. Do give Egan another chance by reading "Emerald city."

Feb 18, 2018

I found the secret to the author's research in the back of the book, where Egan describes how she became very interested in the Manhattan Naval Yard and the divers who worked there. In weaving the characters in the story into this background, she begins by introducing the most important characters, then weaves other themes and characters into their stories. As in life, things change for each of them and the world around them changes also. Using flashbacks to pull the story forward, we learn the parts of each character's story that we need to know. The development of the characters is a large part of the story; so we have historical themes that affect their lives as well as their life changing decisions and their tragic blind spots. Not all the people we care about make it to the end of the story.

Feb 16, 2018

Omg! What is all the fuss about with this book? Prizes, best seller — really? I never cared about any of the characters. Thought it was extremely slow-moving and disjointed. A real mess, frankly.

Jan 29, 2018

Fun read mostly for the period descriptions. Encouraging in my opinion though it did seem to be come from a feminist focus it was fair play. It rather overly characterized the weaknesses of culture at the time and mischaracterized some of it's strengths. I loved the play by play of the father on board the merchant ship. Note that I listened to the Audiobook, if I had read the book I may have been more critical.

In the later chapters she refers to YWCA as a place to find boarding back when YMCA and YWCA did that as part of their ministry. If you wonder why there is cheap boarding all across Europe but in America there is only homeless shelters by Salvation Army or the such it is because the YMCA and YWCA served the population that weren't destitude but could not front for a hotel. In addition it was a place of service & community to those transient people instead of seedy motels. Unfotunately it became a hookup spot (a la the popular Village People song) and the only brothels in America for transient people closed down.

brookse0518 Jan 25, 2018

Captivating. The author really did her research on this story.

Jan 22, 2018

I was soooo disappointed in this book after all the splendid reviews. There were basically 3 main characters with their own storylines and only the female who, against all odds, became a diver for the Navy in WW2. The other 2 characters were totally uninteresting so I skimmed their chapters and was ultimately bored with 90% of the book.

Jan 22, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. The writing was many notches above what i usually read ie. mysteries and crime. Sometimes a sentence or a paragraph is all that's needed to get the essence of a character or their motivations or feelings. I was very quickly empathizing with the characters, understanding what was going on in their head and curious as hell as to what was going to happen to them - they became real to me; and that doesn't happen very often.
It's the 1930's and a dad takes his 12 year old daughter with him when he visits a man. That day resonates throughout the book when during WW11 she meets that man again and her life takes a path unintended by her or him.

Jan 19, 2018

Holy cow, this woman can write.
What a treat to start the new year with such a book.
I could hardly wait to get back to it throughout the day.
A strong 9 out of ten.

Jan 03, 2018

So well written. I couldn't get this book off my mind when I was away from it. The story follows a young woman learning to be a deep sea diver to work on WW ll ships. It also follows the line between the two worlds of organized crime and New York's high society. Lots of great female characters that show the kind of options women, young and older, had at the time. A very enjoyable read.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top