Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First Scribner hardcover edition
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"Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. 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 had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career with the Ziegfeld Follies, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have vanished."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Branch Call Number: FICTION EGA
Characteristics: 438 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9781476716732


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phill167 May 27, 2019

The novel opens in New York City in 1934. Eleven year old Ann Kerrigan accompanied her father, a union lackey named Eddie Kerrigan, to a business meeting at Manhattan Beach, home of Dexter Styles… a meeting that proved to be fateful for all three characters. Eight years later, WWII was on. With so many American men fighting overseas, Anna was among the first wave of women to get jobs at the Brooklyn Naval yard. Her father, Eddie Kerrigan had disappeared 5 years earlier and she was on a quest to solve her father’s disappearance, she linked up with Dexter Styles, a club owner, mafioso, and someone deemed be know what happened became of Eddie. Anna’s and Dexter’s subsequent meeting ended up into a midnight tryst. Baby, murder, and fall-outs ensued.

Mar 24, 2019

Enjoyed this historical fiction about a young adolescent woman who challenges and grows up within the male-dominated environs of the Brooklyn Navy yards during WWII. The technical lingo of the shipyards and of the Irish-gangster underworld sometimes became cumbersome.

Feb 07, 2019

Set in NY during WWII, Anna Kendrick has come of age just when American women are starting to work outside of their homes in non-domesticated jobs. First as a factory worker measuring plane parts to ensure quality and then as a dock diver working on ship repair you will follow her into their new territory for women. Family dynamics develop the plot line of her father's work for a gangster while a disabled sister is a burden and a blessing. Several plot twists turn the story and show you other part of the mafioso world and the roles of men during the war. Well written and a pleasure to read as you are pulled into Anna's life and her family mysteries.

Jan 22, 2019

Beautiful Historical Fiction.
I loved it so much, I am hunting for a book just like it as I miss reading Manhattan Beach already.
The descriptions of life, characters, moments and thoughts of the era seem perfect. And to imagine that the heroine makes such headway during the war days in American is a pleasant relief.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 02, 2019

This is a fascinating, elegantly written piece of historical fiction about a woman breaking barriers and inserting herself into a male-dominated space. I knew absolutely nothing about the divers – there is so much WWII fiction out there that it’s exciting when a book shines a light on an under examined piece of the history – and everything about this book has clearly been meticulously researched, in such a way that all the work that must have gone into It is totally invisible to the reader’s eye. I found this to be a bit melancholy of a read, overall, but the skill of the writing is undeniable.

Dec 10, 2018

A good work of historical fiction by a master writer. It's set in NY City during WWII. The protagonist is a woman who dives in support of the shipbuilders in NY. It has a bit of the mob, some mystery, and a lot about how difficult it was for women back then to be respected, especially when doing a job that most people thought should only be done by a man.

Dec 07, 2018

Being a huge fan of historical fiction, I was looking forward to reading this book. My book club chose it partly because of its long tenure on the NYT bestseller list. I started it three times. The first two, I couldn't make it past the first 150 pages. I gave it a third try, but skipped quite a few pages in the middle, finally finishing it and still not understanding why it is so critically acclaimed. I found it to be tedious, sluggish and not particularly well-written. None of the characters' fates mattered to me. It repeatedly bounces between past and present in the same paragraph. There are many obscure references that I had to google. And this sentence: "the fillip of collective opprobrium had summoned their lust." Puh-lease! One star is all it gets from this reader.

Nov 27, 2018

This book is very good historical fiction. Beginning before WWII and continuing during the war we see how a chance meeting with a gangster has a huge impact on Anna and her family. The story abounds in sea imagery including underwater when Anna becomes a diver in a naval shipyard. I thought the book was a bit out of the ordinary and had very well developed characters. I thought it was a bit slow at first but as I went on I liked it more and more.

Nov 06, 2018

The protagonist goes and makes decisions that are exactly the opposite of what one would think she should do, and yet they turn out to be the best decisions and they give a happy ending. Sometimes the least likely, least rational course of action really is the best one. Definitely a good argument for following your gut.
Most of the book felt like a film noir, complete with sleazy night clubs, beautiful women, gangsters, and some violence. It keeps you reading, with fear for the protagonist for most of the story. And of course, who doesn’t love a happy ending? I loved it and recommend it.

Oct 16, 2018

Too many implausible aspects. For example, allowing a 115 pound person to work underwater with apparatus weighing over 200 pounds. Sure. Or, how about having the heroine discover her father's watch on the ocean floor while scuffling along in diver's gear. My, how convenient! Add in the author's obsessive need to plunk a simile into almost every paragraph--whether needed or not--and you get a nearly unreadable book.

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Dec 12, 2018

Survival of the fittest. I was fascinated by the way the sea intertwined with the characters throughout the book. The story begins with Anna and her Father, Eddie Kerrigan driving to the home of Dexter Styles to meet him. Anna knows and responds to her Father in a way that is one of cunning and perspective making all the right moves. It begins with Mr. Styles crouched beside Anna on the sand and asked "Why the bare feet". Don't you feel the cold or are you showing off? Anna replies, "Why would I show off. I'm nearly twelve".
He says, "Well, what does it feel like"? "It only hurts at first. After awhile, you can't feel anything". Mr. Styles grinned as if her reply were a ball he'd taken physical pleasure in catching. "Words to live by." he said and rose again to his immense heights. "She's strong", he remarked to Anna's father. "So she is". Her father avoided her eyes.


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