Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NEW YORK'S "ONE BOOK, ONE NEW YORK" PICK
The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad.
Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, Esquire , Vogue, The Washington Post, The Guardian , USA TODAY, Time - A New York Times Notable Book
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.
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Read by Heather Lind, Norbert Leo Butz & Vincent Piazza.
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.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
The latest from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) centers on the Brooklyn Naval Yard during World War II. Anna Kerrigan lives with her mother and disabled sister, Lydia, her father having disappeared years earlier. She works measuring ship parts at the yard but longs to be a diver, doing salvage and repair underwater. At first by chance and later by design, she encounters Dexter Styles, a gangster who may know something about her father's disappearance. Along the way, Anna usually takes the most reckless path, rarely considering the long-term consequences. The setting is rich and textured, and unexpected turns of phrase, such as a male naval officer being described as petite, startle and delight. Egan offers thrilling accounts of shipwreck and of Anna's diving training, avoiding most clichés in her depictions of the criminal underworld inhabited by Dexter and Anna's father, as well as the motivations and conflicted loyalties that that life brings. -VERDICT This large, ambitious novel shows Egan at the top of her game. Anna is a true feminist heroine, and her grit and tenacity will make readers root for her. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/19/17.]-Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Pulitzer-winner Egan's splendid novel begins in 1934 Brooklyn as Eddie Kerrigan struggles to support his wife and two daughters, one of whom is severely disabled. He finds work as a bagman, ferrying bribes for a corrupt union official. One day he brings his healthy daughter, Anna, to the Manhattan Beach home of Dexter Styles, a nightclub owner with underworld partners. The 11-year-old can't comprehend their business, but she senses that the two men have become "friends." By the time Anna is 19, Eddie has inexplicably vanished and America is in the Second World. Working a dull job inspecting ship parts at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, Anna seizes the opportunity to become the first female civilian diver there. Around the same time, a second encounter with Dexter Styles raises hopes that he can help untangle the mysteries of her father's disappearance. As the stories eddy through time, Egan makes haunting use of shore and water motifs to balance dense period detail and explore the liminal spaces-between strength and weakness, depth and surface, past and future, life and death-through which her protagonists move. More straightforwardly narrated than some of Egan's earlier work, including the celebrated A Visit from the Goon Squad, the novel is tremendously assured and rich, moving from depictions of violence and crime to deep tenderness. The book's emotional power once again demonstrates Egan's extraordinary gifts. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM Partners. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* The sea, in all its gleaming, brooding, swaying magnificence and mystery, calls to the striving characters in Egan's first historical novel and exerts an equally magnetic pull on readers. In Depression-era New York City, Eddie Kerrigan, a self-possessed, exceptionally observant man, takes his smart, circumspect 11-year-old daughter, Anna, along on his rounds as a bagman for an Irish gangster. One cold day they drive out to Manhattan Beach to meet with Dexter Styles, a dashing and ruthless nightclub impresario who is impressed with Anna's urge to walk barefoot in the frigid sand and sea. Well, what's it feel like? he asks. It only hurts at first, she says. After a while you can't feel anything. Her father is not pleased, but Dexter grins and says, Words to live by. And with that, Egan, a deft and deep-reaching storyteller, establishes the secret triangle upon which this mesmerizing novel of suspense, daring, and determination is so adroitly built. Anna is devoted to her severely disabled sister, Lydia, as is her beautiful mother, a Minnesota farm girl who made her way to New York and the Ziegfeld Follies. Eddie can barely look at his twisted, immobile youngest but commits himself to making enough money to provide the care she needs, hence his dangerous association with Styles, who walks a thin line between legitimate prestige and violent criminality via his ties to the Syndicate. Eddie's gamble backfires, and he disappears. After a year of college, Anna joins the war effort, securing a job at the Brooklyn Naval Yard inspecting parts for battleships. She has an epiphany while watching a man don a massive diving suit: she is destined to be a diver. Her wildly unconventional conviction carries her over every obstacle entrenched misogyny places in her way. Egan revels in Anna's moxie, training, underwater ship-repairing missions, and growing expertise, describing every object, action, and conversation with exhilarating specificity. She knows precisely how those 200-pound diving suits worked, how they felt from the inside, how divers were attached to their tenders above, how they were buffeted by the currents as they worked. She animates the Naval Yard, the waves of ambition, rivalry, gossip, and camaraderie among diverse men and women who never would have known each other if war hadn't tossed them together. Egan was able to write so vividly and fluidly about this seminal time and place because she has been researching the Naval Yard and its divers since 2004, six years before A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) appeared. In that innovative and episodic novel, which garnered the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Booklist's Top of the List, Egan considered the seismic impact of digital technology, as she did in The Keep (2006), in which gothic meets high-tech. Here, in this more traditionally told tale, she looks back to the coalescence of an earlier technological revolution as the world went to war, American industrialization was weaponized, men were sent to the front, and women filled new jobs.Like Dennis Lehane, Egan has combined insightful historical fiction with emotionally rich crime fiction to create a riveting and provocative investigation into the human condition. For all her keen attunement to social metamorphosis, what is most engrossing is Egan's charting of the psychological eddies and storms that shape her irresistibly stubborn, risk-seeking characters. Eddie's tough boyhood left him preferring danger over sorrow any day of the week. Anna does what she believes she must, no matter the consequences. How sharply Egan delineates the byzantine calculus inherent in underworld alliances; how powerfully she evokes the glory and perils of nature and the utter nihilism of erotic desire. There's more. Egan also follows the fate of the archetypcally motley crew of a merchant-marine ship in U-boat-infested waters, mustering the piercing detail and wrenching drama found in Melville and Conrad. Ultimately, Egan's propulsive, surprising, ravishing, and revelatory saga, a covertly profound page-turner that will transport and transform every reader, casts us all as divers in the deep, searching for answers, hope, and ascension.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2017 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
After stretching the boundaries of fiction in myriad ways (including a short story written in Tweets), Pulitzer Prize winner Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad, 2010, etc.) does perhaps the only thing left that could surprise: she writes a thoroughly traditional novel.It shouldn't really be surprising, since even Egan's most experimental work has been rich in characters and firmly grounded in sharp observation of the society around them. Here, she brings those qualities to a portrait of New York City during the Depression and World War II. We meet 12-year-old Anna Kerrigan accompanying her adored father, Eddie, to the Manhattan Beach home of suave mobster Dexter Styles. Just scraping by "in the dregs of 1934," Eddie is lobbying Styles for a job; he's sick of acting as bagman for a crooked union official, and he badly needs money to buy a wheelchair for his severely disabled younger daughter, Lydia. Having rapidly set up these situations fraught with conflict, Egan flashes forward several years: Anna is 19 and working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, the sole support of Lydia and their mother since Eddie disappeared five years earlier. Adult Anna is feisty enough to elbow her way into a job as the yard's first female diver and reckless enough, after she runs into him at one of his nightclubs, to fall into a one-night stand with Dexter, who initially doesn't realize whose daughter she is. Disastrous consequences ensue for them both but only after Egan has expertly intertwined three narratives to show us what happened to Eddie while drawing us into Anna's and Dexter's complicated longings and aspirations. The Atlantic and Indian oceans play significant roles in a novel saturated by the sense of water as a vehicle of destiny and a symbol of continuity (epigraph by Melville, naturally). A fatal outcome for one appealing protagonist is balanced by Shakespearean reconciliation and renewal for others in a tender, haunting conclusion. Realistically detailed, poetically charged, and utterly satisfying: apparently there's nothing Egan can't do. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.