Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"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: 9781476716749
Characteristics: 438 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Review: "A beautifully crafted historical novel set in NYC during the Depression and WWII. Great attention to detail, set and setting."
Reviewer: Hedy Berman

From the critics

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CALS_Lee May 19, 2020

Jennifer Egan writes superb scenes. Countless places in this novel I admired and reread a certain encounter she describes, between character and character, or between character and environment, or in a character's inner monologue. Her writing in such set pieces communicates truth in a highly skilled, poetic manner. Here, these magnificent trees don't add up to the breathtaking forest one would hope for, but if the reader can take pleasure in ignoring the forest for the trees, so to speak, there is much to enjoy in this account of a young woman breaking gender barriers in the workforce, of a gangster jealously eyeing a place atop the socially acceptable world of exploitation, of a father who abandons family life and tries to forget himself. If it ultimately doesn't quite work as a whole, the brilliant pieces make up for it.

Feb 13, 2020

I liked the interconnectedness of the story lines and the bravery of the heroine. The only part of the narrative that I found highly unlikely involved diving gloves and a monogram. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Dec 31, 2019

Great historical fiction and a real page turner. Gritty story that weaves a naval yard, gangsters and a father's disappearance

Oct 27, 2019

No ebook

jennywile Oct 22, 2019

I love Jennifer Egan's writing. This is a wonderful historical fiction piece of gritty, but modern, New York leading up to and during wartime. It is a coming of age piece of a strong female character against a sometimes menacing, but rarely gratuitously violent, world.

phill167 May 27, 2019

The novel opens in New York City in 1934. Eleven year old Ann Kerrigan accompanied her father, a union lackey named Eddie Kerrigan, to a business meeting at Manhattan Beach, home of Dexter Styles… a meeting that proved to be fateful for all three characters. Eight years later, WWII was on. With so many American men fighting overseas, Anna was among the first wave of women to get jobs at the Brooklyn Naval yard. Her father, Eddie Kerrigan had disappeared 5 years earlier and she was on a quest to solve her father’s disappearance, she linked up with Dexter Styles, a club owner, mafioso, and someone deemed be know what happened became of Eddie. Anna’s and Dexter’s subsequent meeting ended up into a midnight tryst. Baby, murder, and fall-outs ensued.

Mar 24, 2019

Enjoyed this historical fiction about a young adolescent woman who challenges and grows up within the male-dominated environs of the Brooklyn Navy yards during WWII. The technical lingo of the shipyards and of the Irish-gangster underworld sometimes became cumbersome.

Feb 07, 2019

Set in NY during WWII, Anna Kendrick has come of age just when American women are starting to work outside of their homes in non-domesticated jobs. First as a factory worker measuring plane parts to ensure quality and then as a dock diver working on ship repair you will follow her into their new territory for women. Family dynamics develop the plot line of her father's work for a gangster while a disabled sister is a burden and a blessing. Several plot twists turn the story and show you other part of the mafioso world and the roles of men during the war. Well written and a pleasure to read as you are pulled into Anna's life and her family mysteries.

Jan 22, 2019

Beautiful Historical Fiction.
I loved it so much, I am hunting for a book just like it as I miss reading Manhattan Beach already.
The descriptions of life, characters, moments and thoughts of the era seem perfect. And to imagine that the heroine makes such headway during the war days in American is a pleasant relief.

Dec 10, 2018

A good work of historical fiction by a master writer. It's set in NY City during WWII. The protagonist is a woman who dives in support of the shipbuilders in NY. It has a bit of the mob, some mystery, and a lot about how difficult it was for women back then to be respected, especially when doing a job that most people thought should only be done by a man.

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Dec 12, 2018

Survival of the fittest. I was fascinated by the way the sea intertwined with the characters throughout the book. The story begins with Anna and her Father, Eddie Kerrigan driving to the home of Dexter Styles to meet him. Anna knows and responds to her Father in a way that is one of cunning and perspective making all the right moves. It begins with Mr. Styles crouched beside Anna on the sand and asked "Why the bare feet". Don't you feel the cold or are you showing off? Anna replies, "Why would I show off. I'm nearly twelve".
He says, "Well, what does it feel like"? "It only hurts at first. After awhile, you can't feel anything". Mr. Styles grinned as if her reply were a ball he'd taken physical pleasure in catching. "Words to live by." he said and rose again to his immense heights. "She's strong", he remarked to Anna's father. "So she is". Her father avoided her eyes.


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