A NovelBook - 2017
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.
From the critics
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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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