Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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 with the Great Depression underway. 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.--
Publisher: New York, NY :, Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.,, [2017]
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781476716732
Branch Call Number: FIC EGAN
Characteristics: 438 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 18, 2018

I kept waiting for something to happen. Well, lots of things happened, but none which seemed worthy of a novel. The promised mystery was a major disappointment.

Jennifer Egan has book titles and premises that intrigue me, but never live up to the potential.

Apr 16, 2018

Not my cup of tea!

Apr 01, 2018

I miss the days when editors had broad general knowledge, and could correct silly mistakes like wine being matured in pine barrels (yikes!), or Intensive Care Units existing in the 1930's... Aside from that, there was not a single character I found credible. Same with the dialogue. One test of a novel, historical or otherwise, is "do I care about these characters?" And this time the answer is an unequivocal NO.
Did anyone notice EVERY character, including the 3rd-person narrator, spoke in exactly the same voice, with those odd contractions? He'd no phone. They've nine children. Etc. And the one distinctive voice, the bosun on the merchant ship... loses his voice. Mostly. Sort of.


Goon Squad was imaginative and distinctive. We can only hope JE got the diving research out of her mind and can return to writing worth reading. This one was a waste of many hours...

Mar 28, 2018

I have the same comments as many, well researched, but it really should have ended 2/3 of the way through when one of the characters is no longer around...and an entire other POV felt like it was from another book. I only stayed till the end to see if a deservedly sad ending awaited these characters who made all made bad decisions...

SPPL_Kristen Mar 20, 2018

I can't say I was expecting a book like this from Jennifer Egan. I'm still not sure what to think of it, but her characters are well-developed and interesting enough to keep me reading.

Mar 02, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. Couldn't put it down. Jennifer Egan had a way of weaving the characters of this novel in and out of the story that left you wanting to know what would happen to them next. I had to restrain myself from peeking ahead to see what was going to happen and am so glad I resisted that urge. I will be reading her other books for sure!

Feb 19, 2018

Did anyone read this to the end? I wonder. After a while it resembled a radio program you're only half listening to but of which still can follow the story line. I resorted to reading only dialogue and found it helped move the story along. Did the writer get paid by the page or did the Pulitzer Prize make her editors timid? I think Egan needs a firm editor! This 390 page book could be reduced easily to 200 pages without harming the plot. What a waste of superb talent, and,.. my time. Do give Egan another chance by reading "Emerald city."

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.

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.

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.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top