Tag Archives: Scribner

Review: Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach
By Jennifer Egan
Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781476716732, October 3, 2017, 448pp.

The Short of It:

A satisfying, well-told story about a young woman’s contribution to the war effort and how her family’s history shapes who she is.

The Rest of It:

The story begins with young Anna and her father Eddie, visiting the illustrious gangster Dexter Styles. Eddie needs the money for a special wheelchair for his crippled daughter, Anna’s younger sister Lydia so as a last resort, Eddie accepts the job that Dexter offers. Dexter is taken by Anna’s youth and her bold display of strength while visiting his home in Manhattan Beach. Years later, that brief encounter is remembered when Anna and Dexter meet again.

There is a lot of great storytelling in Manhattan Beach. Anna’s dedication to her sister Lydia, is fully explored as is her love of the sea and her inevitable path to becoming a diver for the war effort. Anna’s complex relationship with her father and the diving details Egan includes had me turning the pages quickly. Nothing felt rushed. Egan takes her time and the story unfolds effortlessly. I’ve read a few of her other books but this one by far is my favorite and I do not normally enjoy novels centered around war.

It’s early in the year but this could end up being on my list of faves for 2018.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties
By Stephen and Owen King
Print: Scribner Book Company, 9781501163401, September 2017, 720pp.
AudioMarin Ireland (Narrator), Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

(Note: Review of both audio and print copies)

The Short of It:

After falling asleep, women around the world find themselves wrapped in a cocoon-like substance.  Alive, but for how long?

The Rest of It:

I read Sleeping Beauties as part of a read along (@sleepingbeautiesRAL).  Truth be told, I always look forward to King’s fall releases but this one was a little different. Mainly, because he wrote it with his son, Owen. However, the tone of the book was very different from what he’s written before.

Much of the story details how one particular town is overtaken by this “webbing” and how the male inhabitants, although baffled by it, are also terrified that their significant others, their daughters, mothers and sisters may never come out of this dream state. This is a real concern for them but for some, it begs the question, why? Why are they so concerned? Because their loved ones will never be the same? Or because they will now be forced to live without women taking care of the house? The kids?

Sleeping Beauties is a horror novel but not in the traditional King sense. It’s King’s way of burning a bra without owning one. It’s a poster-waving tribute to women’s rights but the agenda was too obvious and much of it felt scripted. There are no surprises here and truthfully, I felt a little depressed when I turned the last page.

Because some of you have asked, I could tell which sections King wrote and which sections his son wrote. All of the weird, quirky mannerisms and the setting of the stage, felt like Uncle Stevie to me. The progression of the story felt like Owen may have handled that part. Of course, I can’t know for sure but that is my guess.  It would be interesting to know their writing process for this one.

Audio & Print

I read this in print and listened to it on audio. I tried both formats because in print, the visuals were pretty stunning. King is so good at setting the stage. The audio copy was pretty respectable though. Read by Marin Ireland, I felt she did an admirable job of giving each of the many characters a true, authentic voice.  As you may know, King loves to includes lots of characters and this book was no exception.

In the end, the story left me wanting . I feel dissatisfied and a little angry. Perhaps, this is the point.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.