Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’d read the positive reviews and an article in The New Yorker about the Pulitzer Prize winning author. And so, not having read Jennifer Egan’s previous work I was eager to delve into this story about a young Brooklyn girl who battles against the odds to become a diver at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II.
But I put the book down around page 159 annoyed by what I called the "over-writing." A day later, however, I picked it up, determined to see what I was missing. I also found the writing just a little too “clever,” the author injecting metaphors too frequently where they only distracted from the narrative.
Although interesting on the surface, this historical novel about civilian life during the war tried too hard. I found that several characters didn’t justify the space they were given when they didn’t add to the story or to the embellishment of the main characters.
I grew up in Brooklyn so I was very familiar with many of Egan’s landmarks. I got the feeling she felt the need to include as much of Brooklyn as possible, even when it seemed a little too much.
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