“Manhattan Beach” tells Anna’s tale, from when she’s constantly by her father’s side as a 12-year-old during the Depression to during WWII, when she works at NYC’s naval yard as the provider for her family, since her father had by then deserted them. It’s a tale of love, familial loyalty, feminism, war, and organized crime. I loved “A Visit from the Goon Squad” and wanted to love Egan’s first work of historical fiction. But I didn’t. I found the fractured telling which worked so well for Goon Squad to be lackluster here, only reaping a reward at the very end. I also felt that Anna’s character wouldn’t have changed her mind about a crucial decision. However, I wholeheartedly appreciated Egan’s wonderful descriptions of emotion and memory.
Gwenamon says: Very good, just not great