Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, Esquire , Vogue, The Washington Post, The Guardian , USA TODAY, Time * A New York Times Notable Book

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.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476716732
Branch Call Number: FIC Egan
Characteristics: 438 pages ; 24 cm


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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.

Dec 07, 2018

Being a huge fan of historical fiction, I was looking forward to reading this book. My book club chose it partly because of its long tenure on the NYT bestseller list. I started it three times. The first two, I couldn't make it past the first 150 pages. I gave it a third try, but skipped quite a few pages in the middle, finally finishing it and still not understanding why it is so critically acclaimed. I found it to be tedious, sluggish and not particularly well-written. None of the characters' fates mattered to me. It repeatedly bounces between past and present in the same paragraph. There are many obscure references that I had to google. And this sentence: "the fillip of collective opprobrium had summoned their lust." Puh-lease! One star is all it gets from this reader.

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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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