Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Large Print - 2017
Average Rating:
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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.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2017.
Edition: Large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781432843410
1432843419
Branch Call Number: L.P. Fic Egan
Characteristics: 665 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
large print.

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r
Roundcat
Feb 18, 2018

I found the secret to the author's research in the back of the book, where Egan describes how she became very interested in the Manhattan Naval Yard and the divers who worked there. In weaving the characters in the story into this background, she begins by introducing the most important characters, then weaves other themes and characters into their stories. As in life, things change for each of them and the world around them changes also. Using flashbacks to pull the story forward, we learn the parts of each character's story that we need to know. The development of the characters is a large part of the story; so we have historical themes that affect their lives as well as their life changing decisions and their tragic blind spots. Not all the people we care about make it to the end of the story.

w
wardlind
Feb 16, 2018

Omg! What is all the fuss about with this book? Prizes, best seller — really? I never cared about any of the characters. Thought it was extremely slow-moving and disjointed. A real mess, frankly.

r
Rashaunny
Jan 29, 2018

Fun read mostly for the period descriptions. Encouraging in my opinion though it did seem to be come from a feminist focus it was fair play. It rather overly characterized the weaknesses of culture at the time and mischaracterized some of it's strengths. I loved the play by play of the father on board the merchant ship. Note that I listened to the Audiobook, if I had read the book I may have been more critical.

In the later chapters she refers to YWCA as a place to find boarding back when YMCA and YWCA did that as part of their ministry. If you wonder why there is cheap boarding all across Europe but in America there is only homeless shelters by Salvation Army or the such it is because the YMCA and YWCA served the population that weren't destitude but could not front for a hotel. In addition it was a place of service & community to those transient people instead of seedy motels. Unfotunately it became a hookup spot (a la the popular Village People song) and the only brothels in America for transient people closed down.

brookse0518 Jan 25, 2018

Captivating. The author really did her research on this story.

l
lilypad_1
Jan 22, 2018

I was soooo disappointed in this book after all the splendid reviews. There were basically 3 main characters with their own storylines and only the female who, against all odds, became a diver for the Navy in WW2. The other 2 characters were totally uninteresting so I skimmed their chapters and was ultimately bored with 90% of the book.

n
nhoj
Jan 22, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. The writing was many notches above what i usually read ie. mysteries and crime. Sometimes a sentence or a paragraph is all that's needed to get the essence of a character or their motivations or feelings. I was very quickly empathizing with the characters, understanding what was going on in their head and curious as hell as to what was going to happen to them - they became real to me; and that doesn't happen very often.
It's the 1930's and a dad takes his 12 year old daughter with him when he visits a man. That day resonates throughout the book when during WW11 she meets that man again and her life takes a path unintended by her or him.

b
bill556
Jan 19, 2018

Holy cow, this woman can write.
What a treat to start the new year with such a book.
I could hardly wait to get back to it throughout the day.
A strong 9 out of ten.

v
vancouverville
Jan 03, 2018

So well written. I couldn't get this book off my mind when I was away from it. The story follows a young woman learning to be a deep sea diver to work on WW ll ships. It also follows the line between the two worlds of organized crime and New York's high society. Lots of great female characters that show the kind of options women, young and older, had at the time. A very enjoyable read.

r
ronandlynda
Dec 30, 2017

On the Entertainment Weekly Must List October 2017

d
DruryKim
Dec 27, 2017

All that hype - and what a disappointment. It's very well written - but dang, the plot turns and character developments were so predictable and hackneyed. A couple of them just made me wince. And some of the characters that initially play a big part in the book - get dispatched seemingly because they were no longer convenient for the story. Yes, the historical elements are interesting - it's obvious the author did meticulous research - but.

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