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The sea figures prominently in Manhattan Beach: its darkness, its depth, its dazzling endless potential. The boldest among us cast aside fear and set a course towards its horizon, the siren call of a life larger than that possible within a (seemingly) safe harbor. This being a Jennifer Egan novel, the plot is a stiff wind at our backs as the waves rush under the prow of our boat, carrying us along with Ed Kerrigan as he courts disaster trying to provide for his family after the stock market crash, his daughter Anna as she defies expectations to become the first female diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard during World War Two, and Dexter Styles, the ultimate 1940’s nightclub owner and gangster. It is all just as exhilarating an adventure as you would expect. I loved it.
— Sara, Atlanta
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad--"propulsive, surprising, ravishing, and revelatory...a profound page-turner that will transport and transform every reader."--Booklist (starred review).
Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.
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 once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have vanished.
With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan's first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach
is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad,
one of the great writers of our time.