LONGLISTED for the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad.
“Immensely satisfying…an old-fashioned page-turner, tweaked by this witty and sophisticated writer…Egan is masterly at displaying mastery…she works a formidable kind of magic.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Dares to satisfy us in a way that stories of an earlier age used to.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“Egan’s prose is transparent and elegant…But the chief joy of reading Manhattan Beach lies in diving under the surface pleasures of the plot (which are plentiful—it’s immersive and compelling), and sinking slowly to its dark and unknowable depths. There are deep truths there.” —Vox
“Excellent…Manhattan Beach is a fleet, sinuous epic, abounding with evocative details and felicitous metaphors…[it] magnificently captures the country on the brink of triumph and triumphalism.” —Bookforum
“Egan’s first foray into historical fiction makes you forget you’re reading historical fiction at all.” —Elle
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.
“Egan’s exquisitely wrought novel, her first since 2011’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad, follows a young woman who’s trying to understand the shady circumstances of her father’s disappearance. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to support her mother and sister with her job as the first female diver at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”–Entertainment Weekly
An Amazon Best Book of October 2017: With Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan—who dazzled readers with her Pulitzer Prize-winning, A Visit from the Goon Squad—spins a classic historical novel. Classic in the sense that it’s virtually impossible to put down. Classic in its sepia toned portrait of New York: set on the Brooklyn docks during World War II, when mobsters ruled, the war loomed, and a young girl dove her way into becoming the first female diver on the squad. Classic in its quintessentially satisfying characters: crooked gangsters, disappearing fathers, gritty sailors and an intrepid young woman equally at home in a 200 pound diving suit and a green silk dress who unites them all. Classic in its revelation of the dangerous, altruistic and nefarious choices people make to support their family, their country and themselves. Manhattan Beach is classic in all of its American glory. —Al Woodworth
“A bounteous miracle that makes you feel that past 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
“Manhattan Beach is so rich in detail and atmosphere; such an exploration of underworlds of all kinds, filled with lessons on lifelines and buoyancy and how to bear life’s weight by diving deep into it. Jennifer Egan has masterfully conjured an era we are on the cusp of losing. Her novel is an absorbing story, beautifully written. Its strands of subtle intrigue and quiet heroism make you reluctant to leave each page while eager to get to the next.”—M.L. Stedman
“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)
“After stretching the boundaries of fiction in myriad ways…Egan does perhaps the only thing left that could surprise: she writes a thoroughly traditional novel. Realistically detailed, poetically charged, and utterly satisfying: apparently there’s nothing Egan can’t do.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“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.” —Booklist (starred review)
“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)
“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.” —Dwight Garner, New York Times
“A novel that deserves to join the canon of New York stories.”— Amor Towles, New York Times Book Review
“Excellent . . . .Manhattan Beach is a fleet, sinuous epic, abounding with evocative details and felicitous metaphors . . . . [it] magnificently captures the country on the brink of triumph and triumphalism.”—Bookforum
“Manhattan Beach is ambitiously and deliciously plot-driven.” –NPR’s Fresh Air