Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

3.61 (72,145 ratings by Goodreads)
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'This is a novel that will pull you in and under and carry you away on its rip tides . . . Its resonances continue to wash over the reader long after the novel ends' the Guardian

'2017's Most Anticipated Book . . . it will suck you into its orbit and remind you just why it is you love reading' Stylist magazine

'This is a novel that deserves to join the canon of New York stories' New York Times Book Review

The long-awaited novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression.

'We're going to see the sea,' Anna whispered.

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.

Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organized crime, the merchant marine and the clash of classes in New York, Egan's first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a magnificent novel by one of the greatest writers of our time.

'Beautifully rendered . . . genuinely affecting and handsomely constructed. It moves for all the right reasons' Independent

'A gripping, modern version of a 19th century novel . . . such an absorbing read' Evening Standard
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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 165 x 240 x 37mm | 724g
  • Corsair
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1472150872
  • 9781472150875
  • 15,872

Review quote

Manhattan Beachis a fleet, sinuous epic, abounding with evocative details, felicitous metaphors, and crystalline historical assessments... [and] magnificently captures this country on the brink of triumph and triumphalism * Bookforum * 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 * Library Journal, STARRED review * After stretching the boundaries of fiction in myriad ways, Pulitzer Prize winner Egan 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... haunting ... Realistically detailed, poetically charged, and utterly satisfying: apparently there's nothing Egan can't do. * Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review * Exquisitely wrought * Entertainment Weekly * Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan makes her maiden deep dive into historical fiction with the vivid Manhattan Beach. * Vanity Fair * While it's obvious that Egan meticulously researched the era's history, the novel's crooked politicians, organized-crime bosses, and shady cops make it read like a fast-paced, hard-boiled drama * Marie Claire * Splendid . . . 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. * Publishers Weekly, starred review * Egan's first foray into historical fiction makes you forget you're reading historical fiction at all. * Elle magazine US * Gripping read . . . thoroughly realised characters, an involving plot - a triumphant achievement. * Woman & Home * A bounteous miracle that makes you feel that old time, and our time, differently; everything becomes freshly energized, infused with humanity, vital, sad, and full of importance. To see the world through Egan's eyes is to be moved, through language, to new adoration of the world. I don't know a better writer working today. There is a generosity in her prose that is vastly enlivening to its reader and brings about that beautiful effect fiction sometimes causes: more, and better-grounded, fondness for reality, just as it is. * George Saunders, bestselling author of Tenth of December and Lincoln in the Bardo * 2017's most anticipated book . . . haunting . . . it's really very good . . . this time Egan has produced a traditional novel. But it's one that will suck you into its orbit and remind you just why it is you love reading. It seems there's little Egan can't turn her hand to. * Stylist magazine * Brimming, capacious and vivid . . . Full of watery metaphors but also concrete situations and people so real you feel you could reach out and touch them. Anna Kerrigan is a her heroine for her times, and ours too. There won't be many better works of fiction published this year. * Esquire magazine * Egan's descriptive writing is superlative . . . She creates intelligently drawn characters, sensitively explores their inner worlds and takes care to use her historical research wisely.' * Sunday Times * One of the most dazzling novelists writing today . . . It is simply stunning; thrilling, heartbreaking and unputdownable. Book of the Month. * Bookseller * Believe the hype * Evening Standard magazine * A story to relax into and enjoy. * The Observer * Immensely satisfying . . . bristling with armaments yet intimate in tone . . . This is an old-fashioned page-turner, tweaked by this witty and sophisticated writer so that you sometimes feel she has retrofitted sleek new engines inside a craft owned for too long by James Jones and Herman Wouk. * New York Times, Times' Critics Top Books of 2017 * Great historical fiction, flawlessly done * Financial Times, Books of the Year * The Ziegfeld follies, the criminal underworld of Thirties New York City, WWII maritime missions - all are brought to life with irresistible intensity. * Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year * This is a book of epic sweep and ambition whose heroine, Anna, diving beneath the waves, is a memorable figure. Egan's work has always been difficult to pin down, playing tricks with narrative conventions and the reader's expectations. This feels like her most approachable novel so far, in places as daring and unusual as A Visit from the Goon Squad but with more of a story and a heart. * Alex Preston, the Observer Books of the Year * From the author of the Pulitzer-winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad comes this cinematic story of an Irish family in Brooklyn, just about coping with the Great Depression and the Second World War. It's exquisitely written historical fiction, and will pull you in from the vivid opening scene. * Red magazine: 2017's Best Books by Women That We Should All Read * Opening in Brooklyn during the 1930s Depression, Egan's superb novel follows its pioneering heroine into the Naval Dockyard where she works as a diver, repairing battleships amid the turmoil of the Second World War. Scenes describing her dangerous descents to the seabed in her 200lb diving suit and claustrophobic helmet make you almost hyperventilate with tension. Suspense of other kinds tingles through an ingeniously constructed plot from the author of the Pulitzer-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad. * Sunday Times, 2017's Best Books * One of the joys of my reading year was Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach. She tells an intimate and unusual story set in Brooklyn in the second world war, centred around the flinty Anna Kerrigan who becomes the only woman training to be a diver in the Navy Yard, and whose difficult home life is drawn with great compassion. Egan captures marvellously the precarious heightened atmosphere of wartime New York. * Kirsty Wark, The Guardian Best Books of 2017 * The novel I most enjoyed was Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach, a historical thriller that was quite as visionary and stylish as one would expect from the author. * Tom Holland, The Guardian Best Books of the Year * Exhaustively researched and fluently told, the novel creates a fully believable world with characters we can identify with and care about. A quietly absorbing read. * Derby Telegraph * A luminous New York story . . . To find a compelling story well told, one that is full of complex characters and sentences so luminous they stop you in your tracks, is one of literature's greatest pleasures. That pleasure is bestowed liberally by Jennifer Egan in Manhattan Beach. * Irish Times * Egan effortlessly weaves these issues into a compelling story of a young woman seeking both to prove herself in a man's world * Running in Heels * Thoroughly realised characters, an involving plot - a triumphant achievement * Woman & Home * Rich in historical detail, full of seductive characters and teeming with human incident, Manhattan Beach proves once again what a gifted storyteller Egan is ... Manhattan Beach is an enthralling mystery tale * Tatler * [An] electrifying thriller noir . . . it's gloriously addictive. * Saga magazine * Egan's descriptive writing is superlative . . . She creates intelligently drawn characters, sensitively explores their inner worlds and takes care to use her historical research wisely.' * Sunday Times * Anna is a formidable heroine: passionate, stoic, emotionally and physically courageous. Her younger sister is an invalid for whom her glamorous showgirl mother has abandoned her career; the descriptions of caring for this beautiful, beloved and helpless child are tender and moving. * The Times * Flawlessly done, with enough of a spin on the usual historical-novel tropes to make the whole enterprise seem surprisingly fresh. The flawlessness includes ease of consumption: I read the book in one sitting without effort and without even noticing that I wasn't tempted to check my social media. * Financial Times * Egan's first foray into historical fiction, this is a more conventional book than her fans might expect, but it's as darkly immersive an experience * Mail on Sunday Event * An absorbing narrative . . . brilliantly realised * the Spectator * Fine turns of phrase, a richly imagined environs and a restless investigation into human nature . . . Egan really looks, and so do her characters. This is a novel that deserves to join the canon of New York stories. * New York Times Book Review * Genuinely affecting and handsomely constructed * Independent * A fabulous read * Independent, Autumn's Best Books. * A gripping, modern version of a 19th century novel . . . such an absorbing read. * Evening Standard * Egan explains her wish to write a 'heroine-driven adventure story' set at a time when women had little freedom to steer their own lives. She has succeeded magnificently . . . here, the detail serves only to deepen and enrich. Mystery novels, thinks Anna, are unsatisfying in part because they take place 'in a single realm' only. The genius of this book is that Egan successfully plumbs so many. * Daily Mail * This is a novel that will pull you in and under and carry you away on its rip tides . . . Anna's plight as a woman whose will is larger than her circumstances is dramatised with tremendous power. Its resonances continue to wash over the reader long after the novel ends. * the Guardian * Beautifully rendered . . . genuinely affecting and handsomely constructed. It moves for all the right reasons. * Independent *
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About Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan is the author of A Visit From The Goon Squad, The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, GQ, Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her non-fiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.
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Rating details

72,145 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 18% (13,005)
4 39% (28,206)
3 32% (22,926)
2 9% (6,455)
1 2% (1,553)
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