Reading Wednesday

Book Review Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

I loved this book. Like last week’s book, Rules of Civility, it is based in Manhattan in the 1930’s and 1940’s. It’s a phenomenally gripping story that I could not put down. Here is my book review Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Egan’s earlier Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Visit from The Goon Squad, I unfortunately found disjointed and depressing. I had neither of those impressions from Manhattan Beach. The exact opposite in fact. I loved how this story unfolded with both sadness and joy, through the eyes of a young girl coming of age as the world goes to war.

This is the story of Anna Kerrigan and how she unknowingly becomes connected to the New York syndicate. When Anna is a little girl, her father takes her to visit a man and his family. This is Anna’s first meeting of Dexter Styles…a man who will change her life. Anna is astonished by the splendid Styles home, the view and the perfectly dressed children with all their toys. Anna is acutely aware of the cavernous gap between how this family lives and how her own family lives.

The Truth

Back in their tiny apartment Anna helps her mother, a former Ziegfeld girl, care for Anna’s severely disabled younger sister.

But when Anna’s father disappears, it’s up to Anna to become the breadwinner of the family. She begins work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard as the United States goes to war.

Anna never stops wondering about her missing father, and when she has a chance meeting again with Dexter Styles, her world will spin out of control as she becomes too close to dangerous secrets.

With a cast of beautifully developed characters from the tiny disabled child, a powerful father-in-law, an ailing mob boss and an aunt harboring her own secrets, Eagan creates a masterful portrayal of of this dark time in New York City, with a story full of family, betrayal, love, loss and redemption.

Thank you for reading my book review Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan.

*****Five stars for Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Read last week’s review Rules of Civility.

My current read Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

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