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BY JENNIFER EGAN
Manhattan Beach is a fast paced gripping novel which makes for an intense page-turner. Set in New York during the thirties and then on into the second world war, the story follows the early life of Anna whose world is suddenly thrown into disarray with the unexpected and sudden departure of her father. Anna starts working in Brooklyn, at the naval yard where she determinedly and against the odds becomes a diver repairing war ships. Running in parallel to this she begins to unravel the disappearance of her father in connection with a childhood visit they made together to see Dexter Styles, a successful nightclub owner.
The plot is energetic and exciting and we all found it a captivating and fascinating read. Anna is an extremely likeable character and the author, Jennifer Egan, exposes the hardships of women eager to significantly help the war effort, but constrained by their own limitations in being allowed to do the difficult manual jobs. However, by succeeding in a man’s world, the heroine, Anna, is both admirable and engaging.
Although it made for a riveting and thrilling read, some of us found the dramatic moments rather too much, similar to seeing a blockbuster movie – they are fun to watch but somewhat incredulous and predictable. Nonetheless, great to be transported into a different era - you will be charmed.
And a perfect way to indulge yourself and extend the summer whether you are home or away.
- for people who love books -