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In the opening pages of “Manhattan Beach” — Jennifer Egan’s first novel since she won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for “A Visit From the Goon Squad” — an 11-year-old girl named Anna Kerrigan visits the titular stretch of Brooklyn shoreline on a winter day in the company of her father, Eddie, and an underworld figure named Dexter Styles. Though this encounter in 1934 is brief, and circumstances quickly send the three characters in disparate directions, readers will understand that their fates have just become inextricably intertwined. They may also understand, rightly, that this will turn out to be a more traditional novel than the raucous and inventive “Goon Squad,” although the two books offer many of the same pleasures, including fine turns of phrase, a richly imagined environs and a restless investigation into human nature…
For my complete review of Jennifer Egan’s MANHATTAN BEACH published in the New York Times Book Review in October 2017, please visit the New York Times.
Photo © Adrian Kinloch