Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

I’m glad I persisted with this book. After setting aside my perhaps too high expectations for an unusual read, I decided to clear my mind & enjoy this historical fiction that begins in the Great Depression & continues through the war years. I loved the character of Anna, wished Egan delved more into Lydia’s character and was rather ho-hum about that nightclub gangster plotline. It’s hard to pick between Pick and So-So. It’s more of an in-between.
Synopsis from the publisher:

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

‎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 once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time. women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a magnificent novel by one of the greatest writers of our time.

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