Pulitzer prize-winning author, Jennifer Egan, has written a new novel, Manhattan Beach, that “is neither showy nor experimental,” writes Constance Grady, one that deals with time “in a thoroughly accessible way.”
Manhattan Beach is primarily about a young girl, Anna, who idolizes her father, Eddie, who makes extra money during the Depression by working as a bag man for different criminal gangs. Eddie adores his old daughter too but he’s repulsed by his younger daughter, Lydia, who is disabled and in need of the family’s attention.
“When Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2011, it was for a showy novel with an experimental structure,” says Grady.
“Her book A Visit From the Goon Squad was told in 13 chapters, each from a different viewpoint, at a different and non-sequential point in a 40-year span of time.”
Ultimately, Eddie abandons the family, and Anna grows up to hate him for it. While it all may sound neat and conventional, “don’t be fooled” says Grady.
Manhattan Beach is “preoccupied with the same central question: How is it possible to live in the world, knowing that time — the titular goon of Visit — is going to have its way with all of us, eventually?”