Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach takes place during the World War II era and tells the haunting and propulsive intertwined stories of heroine Anna Kerrigan, the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s only female diver, her father Eddie Kerrigan, who works for both the union and the mob, and nightclub owner Dexter Styles, Eddie’s complex and charismatic boss.

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Reviews

New York Times, 10/03/17

“This is a novel that deserves to join the canon of New York stories.”

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The Irish Times, 10/07/17

“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.”

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Chicago Tribune, 10/2/17 

‘”Manhattan Beach” is a historical novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “A Visit From the Goon Squad.” Its “old-fashioned” emphasis on seamless plot and complex characters feels shockingly, and reassuringly, new… Egan builds her story with the countless particulars of her chosen era — America at war, Americans at nightclubs, gangsters and sailors and union workers all fighting for a slice of a diminished post-Depression pie.”

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The Boston Globe, 09/28/17

“Egan’s most remarkable accomplishment yet. . . . At once a suspenseful novel of noir intrigue, a gorgeously wrought and richly allusive literary tapestry, and a transporting work of lyrical beauty and emotional heft, “Manhattan Beach’’ is a magnificent achievement.”

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The New York Times, 09/27/17

“Immensely satisfying . . . [Manhattan Beach] is a dreadnought of a World War II-era historical novel, bristling with armaments yet intimate in tone. It’s 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. . .  . She is masterly at displaying mastery. . . . Egan’s fiction buzzes with factual crosscurrents, casually deployed. . . .  Egan works a formidable kind of magic . . . This is a big novel that moves with agility.”

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NPR, 09/26/17

“Manhattan Beach is ambitiously and deliciously plot-driven, and it boldly helps itself to a wide library of earlier New York stories: There are echoes here of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the Damon Runyon tales that would became Guys and Dolls and Joseph Mitchell’s briny descriptions from The Bottom of The Harbor. . . . In drawing from the classic catalog of New York stories, Manhattan Beach also takes its place among them.”

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Booklist (starred review), 8/17

“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.”

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Interviews

The New Yorker, 10/16/17 

“Egan often dreams about finding a door that leads to an unknown room, like the one that Anna senses in metaphor. Sometimes the door leads to a garden. They are wonderful dreams. They are dreams about writing.”

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New York Times Book Review Podcast with Pamela Paul, 10/06/17 

“New York felt like a war zone for several months after 9/11… It made me think about the trajectory of American global power, and wonder about the future of that trajectory, but also, wonder about the past of it: World War II.”

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The Guardian, 9/24/2017

“…I’ve learned there is a feeling I have about things that are going to end up in my fiction, a kind of excitement. I have this dream again and again: I find extra rooms in the place where I live. You could say it’s a very New York dream, but I think it’s about writing – the feeling that there is something behind a wall or a door. When I went on my first tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, I had the sense that I was pushing through a wall. I was in a hidden city.”

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