Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Anna and her father Eddie arrive at the home of Dexter Styles on Manhattan Beach searching for a job during the Depression. After Eddie goes missing five years later, Anna supports her mother and sister by working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. One night, Anna approaches Styles for information about her father. They become involved, but he is still marked by his past relationship with Eddie.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781476716732
Branch Call Number: EGAN
Characteristics: 438 pages : maps ; 24 cm


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Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 02, 2019

This is a fascinating, elegantly written piece of historical fiction about a woman breaking barriers and inserting herself into a male-dominated space. I knew absolutely nothing about the divers – there is so much WWII fiction out there that it’s exciting when a book shines a light on an under examined piece of the history – and everything about this book has clearly been meticulously researched, in such a way that all the work that must have gone into It is totally invisible to the reader’s eye. I found this to be a bit melancholy of a read, overall, but the skill of the writing is undeniable.

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.

Nov 27, 2018

This book is very good historical fiction. Beginning before WWII and continuing during the war we see how a chance meeting with a gangster has a huge impact on Anna and her family. The story abounds in sea imagery including underwater when Anna becomes a diver in a naval shipyard. I thought the book was a bit out of the ordinary and had very well developed characters. I thought it was a bit slow at first but as I went on I liked it more and more.

Nov 06, 2018

The protagonist goes and makes decisions that are exactly the opposite of what one would think she should do, and yet they turn out to be the best decisions and they give a happy ending. Sometimes the least likely, least rational course of action really is the best one. Definitely a good argument for following your gut.
Most of the book felt like a film noir, complete with sleazy night clubs, beautiful women, gangsters, and some violence. It keeps you reading, with fear for the protagonist for most of the story. And of course, who doesn’t love a happy ending? I loved it and recommend it.

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.

Sep 17, 2018

Outstanding book.

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.

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.”

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.

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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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