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.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781476716732
1476716730
Characteristics: 438 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

For more armchair travel to New York City and the surrounding area, try Alice McDermott's The Ninth Hour.

“Egan’s description of New York in the 30s and 40s is so immersive that you feel like you’re waking up when you have to put the book down.” - Barbara Birenbaum, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA


From the critics


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m
michaelfwood
Oct 16, 2018

Too many implausible aspects. For example, allowing a 115 pound person to work underwater with apparatus weighing over 200 pounds. Sure. Or, how about having the heroine discover her father's watch on the ocean floor while scuffling along in diver's gear. My, how convenient! Add in the author's obsessive need to plunk a simile into almost every paragraph--whether needed or not--and you get a nearly unreadable book.

c
ckalland
Sep 17, 2018

Outstanding book.

l
leahrei
Sep 03, 2018

The young woman in this book gets a job at the NY shipyard, first as a calibrator, then as a repair diver. Her dad disappears, presumed dead, killed by mob connections. Reminded me of my mom's work during WWII at the torpedo base. Really liked this author; will plan to read her best seller, "A Visit from the Goon Squad" next.

s
StoriedLife
Jul 17, 2018

The farther into this book you read, the more disappointing it becomes. Obviously, Egan researched extensively, but then she couldn’t resist the urge to throw in unnecessary information. At the same time, her characters have no more originality than a B noir film, and her plot is packed with as many unlikely adventures as a romance potboiler. (Really? A Houdini-like escape after a crime syndicate tosses someone chained to a concrete weight off a boat?)
It’s not convincing as historical fiction, with Egan pointedly making her primary characters stand out as lone exemplars of more modern attitudes about race and sexual orientation.

And where was the editor, who should absolutely have insisted on deleting passages like this:
“I’ll sure miss Frisco,” Roger said.
“So shall I,” Eddie said. “Although it turns out only sailors call it Frisco.”
“San Francisco,” Roger said, laying down the words in a voice that hadn’t fully broken yet. “She’s a hell of a town.”

u
uncommonreader
Jul 02, 2018

This is a work of historical fiction set in the 1930s and 1940s in New York City. It tells the stories of two families whose lives interconnect. I found it an enjoyable read although at times Egan's research was a little too obvious.

r
Rock_Shadow
Jun 21, 2018

This book is coming up for my book group discussion; the others in the group have liked it. One reader said it was good but there were quite a few passages that could have been shortened. The book promises to touch on a lot of fascinating topics - women working in the Naval Shipyards, illegal clubs during the war, disability, race relations, unconventional female characters... I found the book so boring, that I felt heroic for actually having made it through the first hundred pages, hoping the story would get more interesting. It didn't. I skimmed through the rest of it, and found the details of Anna's relationship with Dexter unnerving. Would not recommend it.

l
lukasevansherman
Jun 18, 2018

Like her previous acclaimed novel, "A Visit from the Goon Squad," this was hyped, but ended up being really boring, despite the Brooklyn shipyard in World War 2 setting.

c
COURIER3
Apr 16, 2018

Not my cup of tea!

s
sheojuk
Apr 01, 2018

I miss the days when editors had broad general knowledge, and could correct silly mistakes like wine being matured in pine barrels (yikes!), or Intensive Care Units existing in the 1930's... Aside from that, there was not a single character I found credible. Same with the dialogue. One test of a novel, historical or otherwise, is "do I care about these characters?" And this time the answer is an unequivocal NO.
Did anyone notice EVERY character, including the 3rd-person narrator, spoke in exactly the same voice, with those odd contractions? He'd no phone. They've nine children. Etc. And the one distinctive voice, the bosun on the merchant ship... loses his voice. Mostly. Sort of.

What?!?

Goon Squad was imaginative and distinctive. We can only hope JE got the diving research out of her mind and can return to writing worth reading. This one was a waste of many hours...

d
damjih
Mar 28, 2018

I have the same comments as many, well researched, but it really should have ended 2/3 of the way through when one of the characters is no longer around...and an entire other POV felt like it was from another book. I only stayed till the end to see if a deservedly sad ending awaited these characters who made all made bad decisions...

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