Manhattan Beach

Length: 15 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

The long-awaited audiobook from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression.

Anna Kerrigan, nearly 12 years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles.

Years later her father has disappeared, and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career as a Ziegfield folly, and her lovely, severely disabled sister.

At a nightclub she chances to meet Styles, the man she visited with her father before he vanished, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have been murdered.

Mesmerising, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organised crime, the merchant marine and the clash of classes in New York, Egan's first historical audiobook is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a magnificent audiobook by one of the greatest writers of our time.

©2017 Jennifer Egan (P)2017 Little, Brown Book Group

What listeners say about Manhattan Beach

Average Customer Ratings
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The readers brought this story alive

Having a male and female reader worked well, although I the womans point of view was the strongest.

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Read it before they ruin it with a film version

Great listen. Interesting story set against the background of what life was like for women working for the war effort on the docks of New York, about gangsters, about the unions, about the warships. A thriller, a love story, a weepie.

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  • bookylady
  • 04-22-18

It could have been great but somehow it wasn't.

This was an exasperating book. I had high expectations of it since the author had previously won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. But somehow this was a story that did not really catch fire and capture the imagination or the heart. I was left feeling 'what was the point of all that?'

The performances were really good, each narrator adding depth and nuance to the story. The overall premise of the plot was good and provided interesting insights into the world of organised crime in New York City and the work of civilian divers and munitions workers in World War II. But there were whole sections that flagged and dragged and I felt that the overall story could have been improved by more editing.

The characters were well thought out and believable until the very end. But the cliched ending of a strong, feisty, independent women ending up in unwanted, unplanned pregnancy and a good-time-girl turning into an earth mother was not only disappointing but absolutely infuriating. It felt like the author had run out of ideas on what to do with these women.

If I had to sum up this book in one word it would have to be 'disappointing.'

5 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 02-22-19

Worth keeping going

I enjoyed this overall, but I found it one of those I had to keep rewinding during the first third. Maybe the voices of the male characters were too similar? I was confused between Eddie and Dexter. By the end, I was really engaged with the characters and invested in knowing how their complex lives would turn out. Some of the storylines seemed very abruptly terminated... maybe that reflects some of the characters too!

2 people found this helpful

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  • DartmoorDiva
  • 07-01-18

Hugely enjoyable

I'm not sure how I came across this book, as it's subject matter wouldn't automatically have appealed, but I'm glad I did. A well-crafted story very well read it kept me entertained throughout. The story spans a number of years and the various plot lines are skillfully woven together. It was a treat to have such great narrators too. There are too many really bad ones out there on Audible!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marie
  • 04-08-18

A clever and intriguing novel

Set in wartime USA, the book is a tale of relationship and interwoven lives. It is also a tale of the struggle to survive. The characters are well crafted, subtle, and well rounded. Anna, her father and her father's employer are the central characters, their relationships complicated and interwoven. I was captivated by the wonderful story and the performances. I will seek out more books by the author.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Natasha L
  • 02-26-18

I just didn’t get it!

Meandering and long. I very much missed the point of it. Was something supposed to have happened?!

2 people found this helpful

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  • janice
  • 01-01-20

evocative and well written

I usually read crime novels but found this by chance. great characters good plotting and a brilliant sense of time and place. will read more of her books.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-25-20

Back to the 40s Newyork city during wartime

Slow to start, but then became hooked and transported to the dockside new York in the 40s

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 07-11-18

complex interesting story

The novel broaches a broad range of characters and scenarios. There is a lot of compelling detail that makes you feel you understand what life was really like in wartime 1940s NY. For example, I found myself telling friends what I'd learned about early navy diving. The characters are likable and complicated. Relevant contemporary social themes (women's rights, the class system, social mobility, gay rights, race) are covered in a subtle way--simply part of the natural story line. This was an engaging listen and I miss the characters already.

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  • Bee
  • 07-10-18

Would like to have given this 3.5 stars

Some parts of this family saga are brilliant amd I was totally absorbed. Other parts dragged and if I'd been reading the book myself my reading pace would have picked up. The narrators however kept a rather slow pace and low key tone almost throughout which made the dullish bits duller.

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  • Rona Hunnisett
  • 02-16-18

Book of the year

Loved it! Great performances, great pace, amazing use of language and a compelling story. 10/10

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  • Avril
  • 01-05-18

It's an easy listen

I love the social history and would have loved some more to help pad out the story

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alison
  • 11-22-17

Wonderful story and narration.

really enjoyed this story. great characters and story line. loved the water element throughout and the diving descriptions.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-17-19

Story telling at its Best

A brilliant story about love and loss. I didn't like this authors first book as much but this time she hits it out of the park. I particularly liked all the information about war time divers etc.

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  • Julie
  • 12-18-18

Great until the End

I really enjoyed this book, but for me it was one of those books where I got to the end and felt cheated.

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  • Jennie Howard
  • 11-15-18

Entertaining, But A Little Unresolved.

I enjoyed listening to the story, and while I liked the story overall, parts of it felt a bit disjointed and unresolved. We do b always have our questions answered in life, but I do like a little more explanation in books. I don't like spoiler reviews, so I won't do one. I think a few openings in books are nice, but I think there were just a few to many holes in the story.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-27-18

Don't bother

The man who performed the dexter parts was excellent, the rest was uninspired. Boring story

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-22-18

Almost, but not quite

Quite a few loose ends in the plot. Found the male narrator less clear to listen to than the female

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  • Michael Holding
  • 05-17-18

great book

made my daily commute very enjoyable. the story was very expansive and the description of the scenes incredible. Good job.

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  • Alex
  • 05-11-18

The audio narrators were brilliant !

This was so enjoyable - I marvel at the 1930’s-NY & Brooklyn language, which was brought to life by the narrators (2) true storytelling.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-27-18

stick with it

The story is great but the naration ordinary. Starts very mechanical but does get better or I got used to it.