JANUARY BOOK TALK —
noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, January 9. Free; lunch available ($5).
Our speaker will be Colette Bancroft, book editor at the Tampa Bay Times, speaking on Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach.
Bancroft calls the book "rich in complex characters, insight into American culture and class, startlingly beautiful prose, and irresistible storytelling."
Set during World War II at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, it tells "the enthralling story" of Anna Kerrigan, a shipyard worker; her father's mysterious disappearance; and a mobster who keeps reappearing in her life.
‘Times’ Book Critic Will Take Us to 'Manhattan Beach' on January 9
Our Book Talks resume at noon on Tuesday, January 9, when Colete Bancroft, book critic for the Tampa Bay Times, will be with us to speak on the new novel by Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach. Read Colete's interview with author Jennifer Egan: htps:// tnyurl.com/ybvk7net
Here's a Q&A with Colete to prepare you for her presentation.
As your weekly reviews in the Times make clear, there are so many great new books coming out this season. Why did you choose Manhattan Beach for your review? I chose it because it's one of the best books I read in 2017 and, I think, one that will appeal to a wide audience. Manhattan Beach gives us a window on a unique era in American history: World War II, an anxious time when people feared an invasion of the United States, and when there was also a great feeling of "we're all in this together." It was also a time when women were redefining themselves by working in fields formerly dominated by men, as the heroine of the book, Anna, does in taking a job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
How does that speak to us in our own anxious times?
Manhattan Beach is a deeply researched historical novel that evokes a specific time, but it also incorporates themes that run throughout the American experience. The fear people felt about the international situation and Anna's determination to make her own way despite sexism resonate with us now, and the sense of a united nation may bring us a pang of nostalgia.
For those who haven't yet read the book, tell us a couple of important turning points to watch for.
Young Anna's visit with her father to gangster Dexter Styles' home; Anna watching a girl ride a bike through the Navy Yard; her decision to take her sister to the beach.
Persuade someone to read this book in 50 words or fewer.
Jennifer Egan's gorgeous prose paints a portrait of a daring young woman, explores an unusual family, offers an intriguing variaton on the gangster tale, and provides a short course on the challenges of diving and the support engines of war, all in one novel.