Dear Great Book Guru, With these first days of March, my thoughts begin turning to our lovely Village beach. Friends have mentioned enjoying a crime novel with rich nautical overtones set at a New York City beach. Any thoughts?
Slipping into Spring
Dear Slipping into Spring, I’m sure it is MANHATTAN BEACH by Jennifer Egan. I loved her earlier A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD and this is indeed another winner- but with a very, very different approach. In the first chapter, we meet the three characters whose lives we will follow for the next twenty years. It’s 1934 and Anna Kerrigan and her father Eddie are visiting his business partner/mobster friend Dexter Styles at his mansion by the sea. The sea will play an ongoing role, perhaps even serving as the book’s fourth character. Manhattan Beach is at the southern tip of Brooklyn and the story lines shift between here and Red Hook where the grown up Anna works in the naval shipyards, eventually as a diver as the nation prepares to enter World War II. From beginning to end, the fates of all three are intertwined with the waters that surround them. Meticulously researching time and place, Egan gives us a fascinating mystery and a spectacular homage to New York’s waterways.