Jennifer Egan’s follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad is more straightforward in structure than her acclaimed 2011 novel; as Manhattan Beach is ostensibly a historical novel that shows America under great transformation as the country moves on from The Depression to WWII.
In 1937 New York, 11-year-old Anna Kerrigan accompanies her father, Eddie, to meet Dexter Styles, a connected underworld figure for a mysterious meeting on Manhattan Beach. This seemingly innocent meeting will impact all their lives.
With her father missing years later, Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard alongside other women while the men are at war. Anna longs to escape the monotony of her job and put on a heavy suit [called a dress] and dive; to join the men that are left, to navigate her own future and hopefully find her father.
Beautifully written with some surprising and at times baffling twists, this waterfront tale flips noir tropes to show why things needed to change.
Author: Jennifer Egan