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Manhattan Beach

"An impressive historical novel of struggle and determination with a strong heroine in a WW2 Brooklyn Naval Base from the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning 'A Visit from the Goon Squad'."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

I first came across the author with The Keep, a hypnotising duel-time, multi-narrative work. Then came her Pultizer Prize winning A Visit From the Goon Squad, an impressive novel which spans decades through the lives of complex characters. So I was really surprised to find this, her first 'historical' novel follows a linear pattern, a more conventional read than I was expecting, but nonetheless totally absorbing. Beginning in the Great Depression and closing at the end of WWII, it concentrates on Anna, her father and initially her very disabled sister. Her father is mixed up in organised crime, working for gangster Dexter Styles, whom Anna first meets when she is twelve, their paths cross dramatically again when she is in her twenties. She works as a diver in the Brooklyn Naval Yard, the first woman to do so, and we are presented with a heroine fighting for recognition and breaking the mould of what is expected for a young woman at that time. I loved it. Highly recommended.

Sarah Broadhurst

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Reader Reviews

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I found this book to be so engrossing that I couldn’t put it down until I had turned the very last page.

The story follows the life of a girl called Anna Kerrigan and her relationship with her father and family, set during war time it takes us on a journey with Anna from her 12 year old self who meets an interesting man called Dexter Styles whilst accompanying her much loved father on one of his business trips out of the city to his large house on the beach.... Read Full Review

Nikki McMath

Jennifer Egan's first historical novel is a triumph. I was absolutely enthralled, drawn in and couldn't escape the shady world of Gangsters, sailors, union men - I couldn't put it down.

Who would have thought that a book with a central character working in the Brooklyn Naval Yard, and training as the first female diver, could hold my interest? I didn't hold out much hope - but I was absolutely enthralled. Jennifer Egan's first historical novel is a triumph. The Great Depression, and war-time America, peopled with Gangsters, union men and shady characters of all types came alive under her deft touch. The real star for me though, was the sea. The descriptions of the sea, in its many moods, I found captivating and held the whole story together. The relationships in this book are complicated. The characters are complex. I was constantly waiting for the next twist. There were things going on which I didn't really want to get involved with, yet I was drawn in and couldn't escape.... Read Full Review

Kathy Martin

An absolutely stunning book which totally captivated me. I was right there in the story with Anna. Set in the war years the story is historical but current too.

Anna Kerrigan, is nearly twelve when she goes with her father to meet a man called Dexter Styles who Anna senses is crucial to her family's survival. His house at Manhattan Beach spellbounds her.

Her father suddenly disappears, no one knows where he's gone but Anna doesn't stop looking for him. She can't believe he'd leave her mother and disabled sister Lydia, a sister Anna adores.

The country is at war and Anna finds work at a Brooklyn naval yard doing a job a man would normally have done. She's determined to be a diver and through perseverance becomes the first woman diver repairing war ships.

Quite by chance she meets Dexter Styles again and is drawn to him.... Read Full Review

Sandra Robinson