Historical Fiction

Manhattan Beach

by Jennifer Egan

Quick take

A sweeping narrative, rich in historical detail, brimming with finely drawn characters.

Why I love it

As any fan of Jennifer Egan knows, the only thing to expect from her work is the unexpected. After all, Egan’s bestseller, A Visit from the Goon Squad, had an entire chapter written in PowerPoint. So perhaps the most surprising aspect of Egan’s latest is how resolutely classic a novel it is. Manhattan Beach fully embraces and delivers a sweeping narrative, rich in historical detail, and brimming w...


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 h...

Member thoughts

33% Love
48% Like
16% Dislike
  • Sara P.

    Cincinnati , OH

    "This possesss many qualities required of a good book, but I most appreciated the element of change (craving it, fearing it, accepting it, etc.) and how it relates to each character. "

  • Bonnie F.

    West Linn, OR

    "Very engaging story with interesting characters. It was hard to put down!"

  • Kimberly M.

    Livonia, MI

    "Fantastic historical fiction! I did not want this book to end."

  • Candace O.

    Clinton, MS

    "Very much enjoyed"

  • Abbey G.

    Chicago, IL

    "I LOVED this book! It was so hard to put down because you are immediately drawn to the characters, from Anna and Eddie Kerrigan to gangster Dexter Styles. A truly wonderful work of historical fiction."

  • Meredith L.

    Chicago, IL

    "Great writing - interesting history, relatable characters. Strong female protagonist!"

  • Rosemary G.

    Downingtown, PA

    "Loved it start to finish! Memorable characters, adventure and lots of WW11 Brooklyn Navy Yard and diving history. A little too much detail in spots but overall great read."

  • Emily D.

    Granville, OH

    "I loved this book so much. The writing captured my attention right away and I couldn't put it down!"

  • Samantha C.

    Henniker, NH

    "I’m a sucker for historical fiction and this one didn’t disappoint, although I was a little unimpressed with the ending. Interesting twists and turns throughout! "

  • Anastasia J.

    Los Angeles, CA

    "I originally thought this was about our Manhattan beach! In California! It’s not but I really enjoyed the woman diver historical treatment. Great character writing "

  • Kristina L.

    Louisville, KY

    "Beautifully written and thoughtfully researched, I loved it. The characters are lovely."