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Jennifer Eagan

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Candy House by Jennifer Eagan

    Eagan is a remarkable writer and I have enjoyed the three novels I have read by her, most recently Manhattan Beach. Eagan’s earlier novel A Visit From the Goon Squad won the 2011 Pulitzer, and The Candy House revisits many of the characters from Goon Squad. Here is my book review The Candy House by Jennifer Eagan.

    The Candy House

    As I mentioned in last week’s book review The Immortal King Rao, The Candy House is eerily similar in it’s plot. Like King Rao, The Candy House takes us into the not too distant future, a time where living on planet earth has become all about the internet, and how everything we think say and do is connected to an online presence. Not so difficult to imagine.

    As The Candy House begins we meet the brilliant Bix Bouton, a tech demigod who creates a new technology known as “Own Your Own Unconscious”. This technology is a sharing tool, where you can share every memory you have ever had and access all the memories of other people. Just like The Immortal King Rao.

    The story follows multiple characters all looking for something in this world; love, hope, stability, companionship, privacy and even family. Many characters reappear from A Visit From the Goon Squad, but the reader of The Candy House won’t need to have read Goon Squad to follow the story.

    And what a story it is. An imaginative, inventive and sometimes disturbing plot. Eagan’s writing style is phenomenal as she guides you through the character development sometimes writing in first person, sometimes not. One chapter presented all in Tweets. Another all in letters of correspondence. She is one of the preeminent writers of the day and The Candy House is masterful.

    *****Five Stars for The Candy House. A perfect summer read. Thanks for reading my book review The Candy House by Jennifer Eagan.

    Read last week’s review of The Immortal King Rao.

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    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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