Manhattan Beach by Jennifer EganAnna 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.
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The author of four previous novels and a collection of short stories, Egan broke free of the Brooklyn-writer pack with her Pulitzer Prize—winning A Visit From the Goon Squad , one of the most stirring and unusual works of fiction of the past decade. Something between a novel and a collection of linked stories, it follows more than a dozen characters in interconnected episodes spanning nearly five decades.
J ennifer Egan has said that she wants each novel she writes to teach her something new. So what does the writer who won a Pulitzer prize in for A Visit from the Goon Squad — an experimental, audacious novel that embraces discontinuity, told in 13 chapters from varying points of view, including a surprisingly moving chapter in the form of a PowerPoint presentation — try next? Unpredictably, Egan has written something that looks at first glance like a traditional historical novel. A work of remarkable cinematic scope, Manhattan Beach portrays the lives of an Irish family in Brooklyn, set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and then the second world war. As a novelist, Egan possesses an unusual mix of qualities, combining a powerful social realism with poetic resonances that derive from her precise imagery and her fascination with the limitations of language.
Though this encounter in is brief, and circumstances quickly send the three characters in disparate directions, readers will understand that their fates have just become inextricably intertwined. The willing suspension of disbelief does not exist in a single form. In the context of different types of stories, the suspension of disbelief asks very different things of us, poses different problems and offers different rewards.
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Jennifer Egan: ‘I was never a hot, young writer. But then I had a quantum leap’
Manhattan Beach is a historical novel  by American writer Jennifer Egan. It was published in by Scribner. Eddie is a former vaudeville performer who switched to become a stockbroker during the Roaring Twenties, then was ruined in the Great Depression. Now he makes very little money as a bagman in the criminal underworld, and he tells Styles he needs money to pay for a wheelchair for his brain-damaged and paralyzed daughter, Lydia, Anna's younger sister. Unknown to Anna, Eddie agrees to work for Styles in his gambling operations.
He vanished without a trace several years earlier, leaving behind Anna, her younger sister Lydia, who is profoundly disabled, and their mother Agnes. While Agnes cares for Lydia, Anna works in the Brooklyn Naval Yard where she measures machine parts that will be part of a battleship. But when she sees men in heavy suits being lowered to the bottom of the bay to do repairs, she is determined to join them. On the ocean floor, with the weight of water above her and a mysterious world of buried secrets around her, Anna finally feels at home. Whatever happens, the world has been forever changed. And then her path crosses once more with that of Styles, an encounter which opens up possibilities of change and discovery. Styles is, we discover, an honourable crook, a man who has never been accepted in the world of his privileged Wasp in-laws.
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