Description of Manhattan Beach
"Egan has wisely chosen not to compete with 'Goon Squad' and its postmodern razzle-dazzle. Instead, her new book leaps into the past, offering us a story built on sturdy older forms polished to a high sheen.
'Manhattan Beach'—longlisted for a National Book Award even before it was released—is a historical novel set during World War II in New York. The country isn’t entirely in agreement about entering another foreign war, but cue the big band, cheer the troops. This is a nation finally crawling out from under the Depression."
The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad.
“Immensely satisfying…an old-fashioned page-turner, tweaked by this witty and sophisticated writer…Egan is masterly at displaying mastery…she works a formidable kind of magic.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Dares to satisfy us in a way that stories of an earlier age used to.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“Egan’s prose is transparent and elegant…But the chief joy of reading Manhattan Beach lies in diving under the surface pleasures of the plot (which are plentiful—it’s immersive and compelling), and sinking slowly to its dark and unknowable depths. There are deep truths there.” —Vox
“Excellent…Manhattan Beach is a fleet, sinuous epic, abounding with evocative details and felicitous metaphors…[it] magnificently captures the country on the brink of triumph and triumphalism.” —Bookforum
“Egan’s first foray into historical fiction makes you forget you’re reading historical fiction at all.” —Elle
Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.
?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 once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.
With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time.
An Amazon Best Book of October 2017: With Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan—who dazzled readers with her Pulitzer Prize-winning, A Visit from the Goon Squad—spins a classic historical novel. Classic in the sense that it’s virtually impossible to put down. Classic in its sepia toned portrait of New York: set on the Brooklyn docks during World War II, when mobsters ruled, the war loomed, and a young girl dove her way into becoming the first female diver on the squad. Classic in its quintessentially satisfying characters: crooked gangsters, disappearing fathers, gritty sailors and an intrepid young woman equally at home in a 200 pound diving suit and a green silk dress who unites them all. Classic in its revelation of the dangerous, altruistic and nefarious choices people make to support their family, their country and themselves. Manhattan Beach is classic in all of its American glory. —Al Woodworth