Saturday, March 17, 2018

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

I wasn't sure about picking up this book since I often don't like the popular, talked about, choices.  I also couldn't get into the author's earlier bestseller.  But I enjoyed this one.  The main character is Anna - when we first meet her she is a pre-teen living in Depression era New York with her father, a union worker/gangster, mother, a former dancer with the Ziegfield Follies, and her severely disabled younger sister.

Anna loves spending time with her father, but as she ages and he gets deeper involved in the gangster world, he stops taking her on his "business meetings" and they grow apart.  But not before she meets Dexter Styles, a smooth talking, high ranking mobster who owns several nightclubs (among other things).

When Anna is a teenager her father disappears without a word, leaving Anna and the rest of her family to struggle along.  For Anna war becomes an opportunity when she gets a job that would normally be closed to women in the New York Naval Yards.  She first works in a factory measuring parts then takes on the unlikely job of diving to repair boats - a job she is very good at.

When she is working she meets Dexter Styles again and realizes he may hold the keys to her father's disappearance.  The remainder of the book deals with their relationship, her father's story and other dramatic turns in Anna's life.  I don't want to give any more away, because the book is worth a read to hear Anna's story.

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