Jennifer Egan's latest novel is an 'old-fashioned adventure story'

Author Jennifer Egan breaks down the inspiration and research behind her latest novel, Manhattan Beach.
Author Jennifer Egan with Tom Power in the q studio in Toronto, Ont. (Melody Lau/CBC)

Jennifer Egan is the New York-based author behind the novels Look at Me and The Keep. She won a Pulitzer Prize for her 2010 book, A Visit From the Good Squad. But with her latest book, Manhattan Beach (out now), Egan goes somewhere her other novels haven't: the past.

To start, it's a historical fiction set across New York City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the '30s and '40s. It also features a character named Anna, a bold, strong, 20-year-old who's one of the first women to work in the American shipyards during World War II. Despite the prejudice of male co-workers and a lieutenant who clearly wants her to fail, Anna becomes a diver, taking on the life-threatening work of repairing ships underwater. 

Manhattan Beach isn't just a study in workplace discrimination; it's also a deep dive into New York organized crime, hardship in the World War II era, as well as a love and self destruction. 

Egan joins Tom Power today to discuss her latest work.

— Produced by Ashley Mak