Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

manhattanbeach
1. First lines 2. Publisher: Simon & Schuster   3. The Gangster by David Pacey: Licence CC BY 2.0 via flickr 4. View of wrecked flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13), looking aft from the island, as the ship steamed up the East River to the New York Navy Yard for repairs on 28 April 1945. The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline are in the background: U.S. Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia   5. Diver: Public Domain via pxhere   6. Detail from endpaper
A Brooklyn gangster with heart. Does he have any choice?
A young woman looking for the truth. Does she have any chance?

Plot summary:  In 1934, Eddie Kerrigan and his twelve year-old daughter, Anna visit Dexter Styles who lives in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn. About six years later, Eddie has disappeared and Anna is working as a diver in the naval shipyards.  By chance she meets Dexter and realises that her father had been working for Dexter who is a gangster. She believes that Dexter knows what happened to Eddie, and she pursues him until she gets answers.
Quotes from the book:
  • “Men said “Girls are weak” when in fact girls made them weak.”
  • “Don’t write if you can talk, and don’t talk if you can nod.”
  • “When at last she’d reached the bottom, she clutched the line and blinked into the dark, wondering if she’d come down too quickly. A pull on her lifeline steadied her and she pulled back. The current was milder at the bottom. Anna shut her eyes and immediately felt calmer. Here was a blindness she could tolerate.”

Other editions: 9781472150905
Hachette Australia 

Excerpt and  Reading group notes  Author’s website  
Reviews:
  • “This is a novel that will pull you in and under and carry you away on its rip tides. In particular, Anna’s plight as a woman whose will is larger than her circumstances is dramatised with tremendous power.” Full review: The Guardian
  • ” … while there are moments when the book feels slightly too restrained, most notably in its glossing over of the violence inherent in Dexter’s world, it also lends it a wonderful expansiveness, a quality of depth and openness that recalls both the possibility and the mystery of the ocean itself.” Full review: Sydney Morning Herald

Awards:

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