Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Linda Kass from Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio.
Linda Kass is a big Jennifer Egan fan. When Egan's latest novel, "Manhattan Beach," hit shelves, Kass couldn't wait.
"I'm always excited about Jennifer Egan's books," she said. "I always know when I'm in her hands, I'm going to go somewhere interesting and there's going to be an interesting protagonist."
"Manhattan Beach" takes place during World War II, in the secret-filled world of the New York City shipyards. The story revolves around a young woman, Annie [Kerrigan], who becomes the first female Naval diver; her father Eddie, who goes missing; and a gangster named Dexter Styles.
"There's this sort of shadowy force lurking at the story's periphery, and there's a relentless search for reinvention that seems to appear in all her novels," Kass said. "There's always her very poignant writing, and dialogue that is just spot-on."
"Manhattan Beach" is "very much a sea novel ... The book is teeming with those who earn their living on the water: sailors, shipbuilders, gangster-types sinking bodies to the bottom of the sea."
Egan "really displays a mastery in how she puts together her books. There's a huge amount of research — I always learn something in a Jennifer Egan novel. In 'Manhattan Beach,' you learn how to search for a body underwater, how to run a nightclub ... All of this is very casually deployed, but her fiction really buzzes with these factual cross-currents."
"I found 'Manhattan Beach' to be a good, old-fashioned page-turner."