Most of us know Jennifer Egan from her 2010 title, A Visit From the Goon Squad, a book that won her a Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times book prize. It has taken Egan seven years to release a new title, and a very different sort of novel from her first.
Manhattan Beach has been longlisted for this year's National Book Award. Set in Brooklyn during the Second World War, Anna Kerrigan receives a job working as the first female diver repairing war ships docked in the Naval Yards. A chance encounter with an old acquaintance reveals clues about her father, who has mysteriously disappeared, and Anna becomes exposed to the hidden facets of his life. Egan's book reads like a noir thriller, encapsulating the Brooklyn in the 1940s so well, it's difficult to believe that this is her first foray into historical fiction. Manhattan Beach may not have the edge of her previous work, but it is a masterpiece all its own.