Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
16
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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: 9781476716732
1476716730
Characteristics: 438 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Jennifer Egan's book takes place during the Depression and the Second World War. A historical fiction novel about Anna, a Brooklyn Navy Yard diver, and the NY mob.

NPR Forum: 10/17/17


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n
nhoj
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.

b
bill556
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.

v
vancouverville
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.

r
ronandlynda
Dec 30, 2017

On the Entertainment Weekly Must List October 2017

d
DruryKim
Dec 27, 2017

All that hype - and what a disappointment. It's very well written - but dang, the plot turns and character developments were so predictable and hackneyed. A couple of them just made me wince. And some of the characters that initially play a big part in the book - get dispatched seemingly because they were no longer convenient for the story. Yes, the historical elements are interesting - it's obvious the author did meticulous research - but.

c
carolefort
Dec 25, 2017

I gave a lot of thought to the writing of this review. The Pulitzer prize-winning author obviously did extensive research for the writing of this book. The reader learns a great deal about the history of naval yards, the depression era, the second world war, merchant mariners etc. However, the body of the story seems disjointed. It is more an assortment of short stories, all linked to Anna Kerrigan, who is twelve years old at the start of the novel. Anna is very close to her father Eddie, who takes her with him for business meetings. It is during one such meeting that Dexter Styles is introduced as an important person in her father's business life. Years later, after her father disappears without a trace, Anna becomes the family breadwinner. How this young woman lives her life during a very difficult period of history is covered in the rest of the novel. I learned a great deal while reading Manhattan Beach but it left me wanting to know more about the interactions of the characters. Recommended for history buffs.

e
Estha
Dec 24, 2017

By halfway I was wondering what elusive quality was missing, but it was interesting enough to stay with it. By the end there is lots to think about: loneliness, and how poverty corrupts and the struggle to redeem oneself.

DPLjennyp Dec 12, 2017

I love Jennifer Egan, but this was not my favorite. It just never left neutral for me. Still, a good, solid read, especially if you like historical fiction.

e
EmilyEm
Dec 11, 2017

An accomplished work of historical fiction about a seamier side of New York City and its implications for two families. While the book’s central character is the young Anna Kerrigan who wants more from her life than the narrow choices given women, there are also the two men in her life, both enigmatic and driven. I like how Egan tells this story, weaving story and backstory, with original plotting that was certainly satisfying, but why such an abrupt ending? That’s its only flaw. Highly recommended.

b
brangwinn
Nov 29, 2017

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. And when it takes me to a place I’ve never been, its even better. Living in Seattle, I am familiar with how women built the Boeing planes during World War II, but I didn’t think of them as impacting ship building at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She’s managed to tell the stories of three people within the book, showing the courage of women as well and the mob rule and its impact during the war. The afterword about how the story idea was born, from real people of the era makes the story even more enjoyable.

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