Manhattan Beach
April 9, 2018 11:58 AM - by Jennifer Egan - Subscribe

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.
posted by DirtyOldTown (1 comment total)
This is a little... how should I say--conventional?--compared to some of Egan's other stuff. She pours together a gangster story, a historical piece about divers, and another historical piece about merchant marines into a mold that is clearly stamped Great American Novel. This is Egan going after a sort of old school version of ambition in telling a period piece. There are times when she nails that form, and times when that form is a box that limits her a bit. My only complaints would be about how the canvas she chose constricts her.

The characters are great, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:00 PM on December 10, 2018

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