Manhattan Beach

by Jennifer Egan

eBooks of the Month Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading View on Manhattan Beach

The long-awaited novel from the bestselling author of Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad.

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Manhattan Beach Synopsis

Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy 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 as a Ziegfield folly, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a night club, she chances to meet Styles, the man she visited with her father before he vanished, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have been murdered. Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organized crime, the merchant marine and the clash of classes in New York, 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 magnificent novel by one of the greatest writers of our time.

Manhattan Beach Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

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

Kathy Martin

Manhattan Beach Press Reviews

'Immensely satisfying . . . bristling with armaments yet intimate in tone . . . This is an old-fashioned page-turner, tweaked by this witty and sophisticated writer so that you sometimes feel she has retrofitted sleek new engines inside a craft owned for too long by James Jones and Herman Wouk.' - New York Times, Times Critics Top Books of 2017

'Great historical fiction, flawlessly done' - Financial Times, Books of the Year 

'The Ziegfeld follies, the criminal underworld of Thirties New York City, WWII maritime missions - all are brought to life with irresistible intensity.' - Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year

'This is a book of epic sweep and ambition whose heroine, Anna, diving beneath the waves, is a memorable figure. Egan's work has always been difficult to pin down, playing tricks with narrative conventions and the reader's expectations. This feels like her most approachable novel so far, in places as daring and unusual as A Visit from the Goon Squad but with more of a story and a heart.' - Alex Preston, the Observer Books of the Year

'From the author of the Pulitzer-winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad comes this cinematic story of an Irish family in Brooklyn, just about coping with the Great Depression and the Second World War. It's exquisitely written historical fiction, and will pull you in from the vivid opening scene.' - Red magazine: 2017's Best Books by Women That We Should All Read

'Opening in Brooklyn during the 1930s Depression, Egan's superb novel follows its pioneering heroine into the Naval Dockyard where she works as a diver, repairing battleships amid the turmoil of the Second World War. Scenes describing her dangerous descents to the seabed in her 200lb diving suit and claustrophobic helmet make you almost hyperventilate with tension. Suspense of other kinds tingles through an ingeniously constructed plot from the author of the Pulitzer-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad.' - Sunday Times, 2017's Best Books 

'One of the joys of my reading year was Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach. She tells an intimate and unusual story set in Brooklyn in the second world war, centred around the flinty Anna Kerrigan who becomes the only woman training to be a diver in the Navy Yard, and whose difficult home life is drawn with great compassion. Egan captures marvellously the precarious heightened atmosphere of wartime New York.' - Kirsty Wark, The Guardian Best Books of 2017

'The novel I most enjoyed was Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach, a historical thriller that was quite as visionary and stylish as one would expect from the author.' - Tom Holland, The Guardian Best Books of the Year

'Exhaustively researched and fluently told, the novel creates a fully believable world with characters we can identify with and care about. A quietly absorbing read.' - Derby Telegraph

'A luminous New York story . . . To find a compelling story well told, one that is full of complex characters and sentences so luminous they stop you in your tracks, is one of literature's greatest pleasures. That pleasure is bestowed liberally by Jennifer Egan in Manhattan Beach.' - Irish Times

'Egan effortlessly weaves these issues into a compelling story of a young woman seeking both to prove herself in a man's world' - Running in Heels 

'Thoroughly realised characters, an involving plot - a triumphant achievement' - Woman & Home

'Rich in historical detail, full of seductive characters and teeming with human incident, Manhattan Beach proves once again what a gifted storyteller Egan is ... Manhattan Beach is an enthralling mystery tale' - Tatler

'[An] electrifying thriller noir . . . it's gloriously addictive.' - Saga magazine

'Egan's descriptive writing is superlative . . . She creates intelligently drawn characters, sensitively explores their inner worlds and takes care to use her historical research wisely.' - Sunday Times

'Anna is a formidable heroine: passionate, stoic, emotionally and physically courageous. Her younger sister is an invalid for whom her glamorous showgirl mother has abandoned her career; the descriptions of caring for this beautiful, beloved and helpless child are tender and moving.' - The Times 

'Flawlessly done, with enough of a spin on the usual historical-novel tropes to make the whole enterprise seem surprisingly fresh. The flawlessness includes ease of consumption: I read the book in one sitting without effort and without even noticing that I wasn't tempted to check my social media.' - Financial Times 

'Egan's first foray into historical fiction, this is a more conventional book than her fans might expect, but it's as darkly immersive an experience' - Mail on Sunday Event

'An absorbing narrative . . . brilliantly realised' - the Spectator 

'Fine turns of phrase, a richly imagined environs and a restless investigation into human nature . . . Egan really looks, and so do her characters. This is a novel that deserves to join the canon of New York stories.' - New York Times Book Review 

'Genuinely affecting and handsomely constructed' -  Independent

'A gripping, modern version of a 19th century novel . . . such an absorbing read.' - Evening Standard

'Egan explains her wish to write a 'heroine-driven adventure story set at a time when women had little freedom to steer their own lives. She has succeeded magnificently . . . here, the detail serves only to deepen and enrich. Mystery novels, thinks Anna, are unsatisfying in part because they take place 'in a single realm only. The genius of this book is that Egan successfully plumbs so many.' - Daily Mail

'This is a novel that will pull you in and under and carry you away on its rip tides . . . Anna's plight as a woman whose will is larger than her circumstances is dramatised with tremendous power. Its resonances continue to wash over the reader long after the novel ends.' - the Guardian

'Beautifully rendered . . . genuinely affecting and handsomely constructed. It moves for all the right reasons.' - Independent

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781472150905
Publication date: 31/05/2018
Publisher: Corsair an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781472150905
Publication date: 31st May 2018
Author: Jennifer Egan
Publisher: Corsair an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 512 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Exclusive Pre-Publication, Literary Fiction, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Historical adventure, Thriller / suspense,

About Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan is the author of The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, GQ, Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. A Visit from the Goon Squad won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2011. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.   Author photo © Pieter Van Hattem

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