Jennifer Egan’s 2017 novel Manhattan Beach, the story of a female diver at Brooklyn’s Navy Yard during WWII, has been chosen as the book for, "One Book, One New York," an annual contest to decide on a book that will be read by the entire city.
Organized by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, New York magazine and The Vulture, the "One Book, One New York" citywide campaign attracted tens of thousands of New Yorkers to vote online for the book of their choice. New York City will donate 1,000 copies of Egan’s novel to the New York City’s public library systems, in addition to an additional 500 copies donated by Scribner, the Simon & Schuster imprint that published the book.
Libraries around the city plan to organize discussion groups and other programming that will focus on the themes and story of Manhattan Beach. The book will also be used by the NYC’s Dept. of Corrections as part of its literacy programs.
NYC’s Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin, said, the city was “thrilled at the level of enthusiasm and participation in this year’s program.” She said that, “Manhattan Beach is steeped in New York history and is a deep dive into the city’s waterfront neighborhoods. Because it features such a strong and compelling female protagonist who defies the gender stereotypes of her day it feels especially timely today.”
Egan’s novel was one of five books picked by "One Book, One New York" for New Yorkers to choose from. The other books were If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, White Tears by Hari Kunzru, Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, and When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
Manhattan Beach is the story of Anna Kerrigan, the first female diver at Brooklyn Navy Yard during WWII and her search for her missing father. The book examines the lives and experiences of women during WWII.
Egan said, “I’m ecstatic that Manhattan Beach has been chosen by "One Book, One New York," especially with such remarkable other works in the field. The city of New York was my muse and my collaborator on this project, and it’s thrilling to think of the book being widely read in the five boroughs that inspired it.”