Discussion Notes: Manhattan Beach

In September we read Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan.

Next month we will read Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

Rated: Explicit

This week we welcome back Colette Sartor who joined us on the weekly short story discussion podcast to discuss “The Proxy Marriage” by Maile Meloy on Ep 123. Colette will be joining the bookclub as a regular host. Hooray!

Gerald, Anais, and Colette discuss Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. In 2017, the novel was long listed for the National Book Award and selected by Time magazine as one of its top ten novels of that year. This historical crime novel gripped all three hosts  with its broody mood, brilliant prose, and vivid characters. Through discussion, they try to unravel meaning from Egan’s twisty, fast-paced plot.

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Psst: Full list of books discussed on the podcast >>

2 comments on Manhattan Beach | Jennifer Egan | Literary Roadhouse Bookclub Ep 20

  1. Richard Dennis says:

    Hi, Gang. I left this comment on facebook, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to have shown up. So here goes:

    Enjoyed the show. I too loved the book, and I think the three of you hit most of the major issues that I saw. But I was a little surprised about your comments about not finding the overall concept of the novel. My first rule of thumb in understanding fiction is to look to the title. In this case I think the key to the novel is the sea.

    Anna is a diver. That is no accident. The key early scene is when she unties the know while underwater and wearing those gloves. She solves problems underwater. She gets below the surface, and is changed. Her father gets tossed underwater, and is changed. Dexter goes under, and he is different when he comes up. Eddy goes to sea. Dexter watches for boats and submarines.

    Manhattan Beach: it’s a location where the land meets the water.

    If you go back and look at all those plot items that seemed to take over the story, particularly in the last half of the story, I think they take on more significance when viewed through the prism of that metaphor. There is a whole world below the surface, and once the characters get below the surface, they see things differently.

    The sea is a commonly used metaphor, and has lots of different meanings in different literary works. I can’t say that I have worked out all the different uses in the story, but it certainly added to the richness of the novel.

    1. Love this comment! And really wherever you like. I think FB is a bit more engaged.

      For lurkers, if you want to join the discussion on FB, join our discussion group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LRHreaders/

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