Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach
by Jennifer Egan

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2017
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: Historical, New York
Hardback: 448
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
They'd driven all the way to Mr Styles's house before Anna realized that her after was nervous.

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.

My two-bits:

Loved how this story is presented - to the point of feeling an ocean breeze with the characters at the beach and feeling the dark depths of the ocean when down under during a dive.

Got a sense of 1930s and 1940s in New York in relation to some shady business, war work efforts and women's plight.


* part of Tournament of Books 2018 (here)
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