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Manhattan Beach

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  38,459 Ratings  ·  4,756 Reviews
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 w
...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Scribner (first published October 3rd 2017)
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Inbal Manhattan Beach is the venue of the very first scene of the book, where the 3 protagonists meet for the first time, and that meeting impacts the rest…moreManhattan Beach is the venue of the very first scene of the book, where the 3 protagonists meet for the first time, and that meeting impacts the rest of their lives. That's the significance of the title.(less)
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Emily May
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, 2017, arc
1 1/2 stars. Um, definitely not what I was expecting from Egan at all... is this really the same author who wrote A Visit from the Goon Squad?

Manhattan Beach feels like several stories in one, all struggling to come together, all lacking cohesion, none of them emotionally engaging. This is a messy book, full of plot points that seem unnecessary and deliberately convoluted. Is it a novel about a young woman navigating a male-dominated world and work force for the first time? Is it a gangster/mob
...more
Liz
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
2.5 stars, rounded up
“Hope became the memory of hope: a numb, dead patch.” This books starts in the midst of the Depression and continues during WWII. Anna is initially a twelve year old and a true daddy’s girl. Then she's working at the Naval Yard during the war and her father has disappeared five years earlier.

The writing here is as good as you'd expect from Jennifer Egan. And she's done her research and the parts of the book describing the Naval Yard and the merchant ships ring true. But for
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Angela M
I can't say I loved A Visit From the Goon Squad as much as the Pulitzer Prize committee or the National Book Critics Circle, or the many five star reviewers on Goodreads, but I liked it well enough to want to give this one a try and I'm so glad I did. It's a very different kind of book than Goon Squad. It's a work of historical fiction beginning around the Great Depression and continuing through the war years. It appears to be well researched and in my view definitely well written. It seems at f ...more
Arah-Lynda
It is not as though I had high expectations going into this.  Having never read a Jennifer Egan novel before I was bereft of preconceived notions.

But based on the blurb and certainly on the first few chapters I was eager to continue reading what promised to be an interesting well written story.

Set in depression era Brooklyn, Anna Kerrigan is only 12 years old as the story opens.
  She is accompanying her father Eddie on one of his many errands.  This one takes them to Manhattan Beach and a far mo
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Paromjit
This is a hauntingly ambitious historical novel of the sea and New York, set during the Depression era and the Second World War. It is impeccably researched in its period details and well plotted. Anna Kerrigan is 11 years old, with her beloved father, Eddie, as they make their way to Manhatton Beach, and the opulent home of nightclub owner Dexter Styles, a man with ties to the mob. The family are barely getting by, Eddie is a bagman for the union and he wants a job with Dexter. He needs money f ...more
Doug
Jun 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advance-copy
Do yourself a favor and do not believe the paid reviewers who are giving this good or even somewhat decent reviews. I don't usually curse in my reviews, but the truth is that this is half-assed crap bordering on total shit. The characters are flat, the plot flounders and everything is presented via repeat descriptions of Veronica Lake hairdos and laughably bad James Cagney film dialogue. When characters are no longer needed, they die, move far away or just mysteriously disappear. I also hated th ...more
Robin
Expectations. They'll get you every time.

I haven't read the award winning and controversial book by this author, A Visit from the Goon Squad. But I understood, from many reviews, some found it dull, some found it pointless, others found it ultra modern and stylistic, but none really questioned the actual writing (thank the good lord, since it won the Pulitzer).

So, I was thrilled to receive the ARC of this book, eager to dive into the writing of a new-to-me author who had risen to the top of the
...more
Cheri
!! NOW AVAILABLE !!

What I was drawn to: The story centers on Anna Kerrigan, and her Irish family, beginning in Brooklyn during the Great Depression, an era and location that should come alive, so much rich history to drawn from.

So, what did and didn’t work for me? I was drawn into this story for very brief periods of time. When Anna was caring for her sister, whose disabilities require constant care and supervision, her devotion to her sister - admirable, and her delight when Lydia showed any
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Hannah
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fiction
That was disappointing. I adored A Visit from the Goon Squad; it was one of my favourite books of last year, so you can imagine how beyond excited I was to read this book - I took my sweet time starting it to be able to read it at the just the right moment, I was so sure I would love this. But I didn't. I enjoyed the first chapter and was ok with the ones following - until around page 150 - when I realized that I have no idea what the point is, what the book is about, what I am supposed to feel. ...more
Holly  B
2.5 stars
Manhattan Beach takes place in NY during the Great Depression and into World War II. We meet twelve-year old Anna Kerrigan and her father, Eddie. Eddie's other daughter, Lydia is severely crippled and the family has no money for the wheelchair that she needs. Manhattan Beach is home to a rich gangster, Dexter Styles and Eddie brings Anna to his home, seeking a job that he desperately needs to care for Lydia and his family. Exactly what is Eddie and Dexter's relationship?

The story moves
...more
Lori
I made it about half way through this one. Just, not interested. Apologies!
Ron Charles
Jennifer Egan has wisely chosen not to compete with “Goon Squad” and its postmodern razzle-dazzle. Instead, her new book leaps into the past, offering us a story built on sturdy older forms polished to a high sheen.

“Manhattan Beach” — longlisted for a National Book Award even before it was released — is a historical novel set during World War II in New York. The country isn’t entirely in agreement about entering another foreign war, but cue the big band, cheer the troops. This is a nation finall
...more
Bianca
I read the blurb for this novel and it sounded right up my alley, so I decided to give Jennifer Egan another go although I didn’t care to finish A Visit from the Goon Squad - her Pulitzer winning novel.

As you can tell from my rating, I didn’t love Manhattan Beach either.
A masterpiece, it is not. I wish publishers stopped writing that in blurbs, how about letting the readers and the critics come to that conclusion?

Honestly, reading it felt like work. The writing was very accessible. So what didn
...more
Drew
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tob18
"What can't she do?" is right. Turns out Jennifer Egan can do anything she damn well pleases, including take 7 years to write a World War II novel that manages to shuck all the expected conventions of writing about those years. There is some amount of mystery here but it isn't a mystery novel, just like there's plenty of history but it isn't a historical novel. Egan's writing has all the pleasure of a comfy blanket on a crisp autumn morning - so what luck that this fall brings a joy like this no ...more
Andrew Smith
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book tells the story of Anna Kerrigan, born into an Irish family in Brooklyn shortly before the Great Depression. It’s the story of her family too – sister Lydia, mother Agnes and father Eddie – but these other family members flit in and out of the narrative whilst Anna is always present, even when the focus isn't directly upon her.

When Eddie is forced to find a new way of feeding his family – the Depression having seen off his career as a stockbroker – he finds himself becoming a ‘bag man
...more
Cosimo
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Toccare lo scafo, toccare la guerra

“Scivolò giù, sempre più giù. Pensava che immergersi di notte non fosse molto diverso dall'immergersi nella Wallabout Bay, che aveva una scarsa visibilità. Ma scoprì che l'opacità fangosa della baia almeno si vedeva. Qui invece non c'era nessuna differenza fra aprire gli occhi e tenerli chiusi. Questo le dava uno strano spaesamento, come se scivolasse verso il nulla o galleggiasse nel vuoto. Quando raggiunse finalmente il fondo, sbattè gli occhi nel buio tenend
...more
Lisa
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An poignant and compelling novel which is deep in strength and courage and rich in historical detail.

SUMMARY
A spirited eleven year-old, Anna Kerrigan accompanies her beloved father, Eddie to the grand Brooklyn beach home of handsome underworld figure, Dexter Styles. It’s a cold winter day in 1934 and Dexter is charmed by the indomitable Anna who delightedly removes her shoes on the beach and puts her tiny toes into the frigid surf. With his family desperately in need of money, Eddie soon begins
...more
Louise Wilson
This novel is set in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan is nearly 12 years old. She accompanies her father to the house of a man whom she learns is crucial to the survival if her family. Years later, her father disappears and the country is at war. Anna becomes the first female diver, a dangerous and exclusive occupation repairing ships that will help America win the war. Anna is the sole provider for her mother and her severely disabled sister.

For me, the book started off reall
...more
Chris
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are great books about New York and great books about the sea. There are great books about fiercely independent women and great books about gangsters. There are great books about war. There are great books about fathers and daughters, and great books about falling in love. “Manhattan Beach” is a great book about all of these things. I loved every single word.
Shawn Mooney
Mind-numbingly boring. With few exceptions, the writing was bland. Except for the opening chapter or two, the characters were dull, dull, dull. I didn’t end up caring about anything or anyone by the 48% mark, and from what I gathered from the plot synopsis, I was still waiting for the goddamned story to begin! What a waste of time.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I have previously loved books by Jennifer Egan, so I gave this one more time than I usually would before deciding not to finish. I read the first 35% pretty closely, skimmed up to 50%, and just had to decide this isn't the book for me. I think there were some interesting elements - women working in shipyards, the mystery of the father's disappearance, the sister with health issues - but just when one of these storylines would start to get interesting, the author would divert to more mundane deta ...more
Simon
Apr 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
WWII is a territory that has been written about so much that it’s often difficult to find an unusual take on it. In some ways Egan has with Manhattan Beach where we follow characters who aren’t in the midst of the war (well bar one later on) but yet are still feeling the ripples of its affects not long after the Great Depression. At the heart is Anna, who eventually becomes one of the first female divers, yet annoyingly her life is really led by the men in it. I know, I know, it would have been ...more
Jessica
I have tried desperately to get into this book, but I've now started it over for a third time and it's just not jelling for me.
Rebecca Foster
Set in the 1930s and 1940s, this is the story of Anna Kerrigan, a New Yorker of Irish extraction whose father disappears after working for Dexter Styles, a gangster who owns several nightclubs. Egan focuses on interesting historical side notes such as Anna’s work as a diver at Brooklyn Navy Yard during WWII, but in general her insertion of period detail is not very natural. I couldn’t help but compare this with her previous novel, the highly original A Visit From the Goon Squad, which won a Puli ...more
Gumble's Yard
Now longlisted for the 2018 Women's Prize.

The author’s follow up book to the brilliant A Visit from the Goon Squad.

I could not help but admire the author’s versatility and bravery in writing such a very different book.

And despite its conventionality (in complete contrast to its predecessor) there is much to admire here: Egan’s strong writing wears the considerable research behind the book lightly - although the diving parts are detailed this do not seem out of keeping for Anna’s narration; the
...more
Bam
*3.5 stars rounded up.

Anna Kerrigan has a memory of visiting Dexter Styles' lovely home overlooking Manhattan Beach in NYC with her father when she was a young girl. Eddie Kerrigan is a bagman for a gangster, so what business does he have with Mr Styles, who runs several nightclubs? When, in 1937, Eddie disappears, his wife, Anna and her crippled little sister, Lydia must fend for themselves, not knowing why he deserted them, or if he is dead or alive.

Five years later, with WWII underway, Anna
...more
Rae Meadows
A 3.5 I suppose. I was disappointed by this novel. I really liked Goon Squad, but Manhattan Beach? Meh. Although it was a competent and well-formed novel, it didn't dazzle me. There's nothing glaringly wrong with it, but I was never emotionally invested. It felt overburdened by research, and at times the plot felt like stretch. (The period dialog felt hokey to me at times.)

I live across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, so that was fun, looking out on Building 77, for instance. But I didn
...more
Skye
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the most part I enjoyed this long meandering read. There were plenty of twists and surprises, some more believable than others. Unfortunately, I found several passages throughout the book so slow it just made the story drag.
Jessica Woodbury
There is this thing with me and Jennifer Egan books. I feel like I should love them but they don't quite hit right. Even with A Visit From the Goon Squad, the one I liked best, I didn't have the effusive response everyone else did. And yet I keep reading them, waiting to break the cycle. But here we are again, much the same as before.

In this story of a daughter, Anna, whose father disappears under mysterious circumstances, there is a lot to love. If you are a reader of historical fiction, there'
...more
Hanneke
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought ‘Visit from the Goon Squad’ was a wonderful book, so I was curious what sort of historical novel Jennifer Egan would create, remembering how postmodern Goon Squad was. As could be expected, I really enjoyed Manhattan Beach. It is actually a noir pur sang. Adventures and gangsters galore! Set during WW-II in New York, you get introduced to the interaction and hierarchy of mobster groups and families, nightclubs with intriguing visitors and sudden shoot-outs. It was interesting to learn ...more
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Jennifer Egan’s 2017 novel, Manhattan Beach, has been awarded the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Egan was born in Chicago and raised in San Francisco. She is also the author of The Invisible Circus, a novel which became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz in 2001, Look at Me, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2001, Emerald City and Other Stories, The Keep ...more
More about Jennifer Egan

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“Eddie had never noticed how much of his own speech derived from the sea, from “keeled over” to “learning the ropes” to “catching the drift” to “freeloader” to “gripe” to “brace up” to “taken aback” to “leeway” to “low profile” to “the bitter end,” or the very last link on a chain.” 4 likes
“How do you know a gangster?” “Usually, the room goes a little quiet when he walks in.” 4 likes
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